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Philosophy and Culture

Wackenroders Phantasies about Art as a Manifest of Romantic Aesthetics

Bychkov Victor

Doctor of Philosophy

Chief Scientific Associate at Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences

109240, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Goncharnaya, 12, str. 1, Institut filosofii RAN

Other publications by this author










Abstract: Wackenroder is a Romantic author of a metaphysical-religious orientation. For him, the creator of art and its most adequate perceiving subject is God. As for art, he sees it as most tightly connected to religion, for both help the human being to rise from the earthly hassle to the heavenly sphere. The art of all times and nations contains a common essence the beautiful which is expressed in a variety of ways. Therefore the human being is capable of learning how to see beauty in any art medium. Wackenroder speaks of two symbolic languages that help the human being grasp heavenly matters: the language of nature and the language of art. Creativity is based on inspiration, which is a divine gift. In creating their art artists must begin with nature and present it in a transformed way. The process of creativity begins in the inner world of the artist, when he or she constructs a future painting in its completeness. The contemplation of a work of art is like prayer. Therefore perception of art requires specific training. Before contact with art, the recipient must initiate in him or herself the ability to perceive the beautiful and sublime. The grasping of a true work of art is inexhaustible. Every act of contemplating an artwork reveals to our soul something new. The process of perception of art is enthusiastic in nature; Wackenroder presents it as a confession of our spirit. In his musical aesthetics the place of honor belongs to the spiritual content of music. In painting Wackenroder most highly esteems the pacifying art of Rafael, the allegorical art of Michelangelo, and the cognitive art of Leonardo Da Vinci.


Wackenroder, Romanticism, aesthetics, art and religion, painting, music, creativity, perception of art, Rafael, Michelangelo

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

"Perhaps no other romanticist, like Wackenroder, expressed such intense emotional and romantic longing for some abstract, detached from the sensual earthly world ideal of art, aspiring to romantic infinity" [1, p. 15]. These words of the Russian researcher of creativity Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder (1773-1798), one of the early German romantics, can become an accurate epigraph to his bright, very short-lived creativity. Wackenroder wrote two collections of articles about art, "The Heartfelt Outpourings of a hermit lover of Art" and "Fantasies about Art, for Friends of Art", prepared for publication and also published by the famous romantic and his friend Ludwig Tieck, who, with Wackenroder's knowledge, included some of his articles in them, without authorizing them in the first editions (1797; 1799). Thoughts and feelings of the Jena Romantics (including the Schlegel brothers)[2-6] in the sphere of aesthetic experience, they were so general that they saw nothing shameful in the fact that someone alone expresses them as his own or gives his text to a fellow romantic fraternity for use in his works. Moreover, they did not consider it unacceptable to include in their texts statements about the art of others, including long-gone authors without specifying the source (we would call it plagiarism now), if these ideas were close to themselves. Thus, Wackenroder often retold in his articles the texts of Vasari and other authors of the past about certain artists, relied on the aesthetic ideas of Herder and Moritz, often without pointing to the original source. In modern editions of Wackenroder's works, all the sources of his borrowings have been found and indicated by commentators, however, with the experience of reconstructing Wackenroder's aesthetic position, it makes no sense to refer to the origin of certain ideas every time. All of them were realized by Wackenroder himself as his own, published (and published today) under his name and express the common position of the Jena Romantics aesthetic delight of the soul and longing for an unattainable artistic ideal. I will be guided by this in this article, analyzing the aesthetic consciousness of one of the first romantics [7-8].

The Metaphysical meaning of art

A characteristic feature of Wackenroder's aesthetic consciousness was an orientation towards the metaphysical foundations of art. He was little interested in the horizontal level of artistic creativity, associated mainly with everyday life, which had been actively penetrating into art since the beginning of the XVII century. All his thoughts were focused on the artistic vertical, both in matters of creativity and in relation to the perception of art. The main idea that permeates all the texts of Wackenroder: the art of "heavenly origin" [9, p. 43]. The Creator himself contributed to the emergence of art, endowing some people with a special gift of inspiration and expression of beauty in the creations of his hands. And He himself is the main and most profound and adequate subject of the perception of the beauty of art. At the same time, if people, due to the limitations of their aesthetic horizons, argue among themselves about certain periods of art as the most perfect, for example, about classical ancient Greek architecture or Gothic, then the Creator sees in everything the beauty that he has invested in these works through artists of various times, through their "feelings". "Art can be called a beautiful flower of human feelings. In ever-changing forms, it blooms all over the earth, and our common father, who holds the earth with everything on it in his hand, feels its single fragrance" [9, p. 56].

In any work of art, Wackenroder is convinced, wherever it arises, the Creator feels the spark of creativity that he has put into human hearts. And the light of this spark comes to Him from every art: whether it is a Gothic or an antique temple, the rude warlike music of savages or exquisite church chants. The art of all times and peoples contains something unified that people do not always feel, but that the Creator himself feels, because this unity is based on the gift of beauty that He gave to all the masters of the human race. The perception of a person is limited by some of his personal characteristics, "and therefore everyone sees the beautiful only inside themselves." The rainbow is depicted in its own way in the eye of a particular person, "so the beautiful is displayed differently in everyone's eyes. The general and primordial Beauty, to which we become involved only in moments of enlightened contemplation and which cannot be expressed in words, is revealed only to the one who created both the rainbow and the eye that sees it" [9, p. 59].

Thus, Wackenroder draws his own picture of understanding the emergence and functioning of art, going back in its origins to medieval aesthetics [10-11]. The creator of the world is also the creator of art, but he entrusts this part of creativity to selected people artists, giving them a special gift. At the same time, they create works of art on the basis of beauty, but not so much for themselves or humanity as a whole, as for the Creator himself, because in fact only He is an adequate subject of art perception. If the deep essence of art the Beautiful is revealed to people only in moments of special short-term illumination and only in the works of a time and people close to them, then the Creator always perceives it in the works of all times and peoples. The realization that God has endowed artists with the gift of expressing objectively and initially existing Beauty in forms that are beautiful for a given people and time leads Wackenroder to the idea that modern people can acquire the gift (and romantics already have it) to perceive and understand the art of the whole world. "We, the sons of the present century, have been lucky we stand as if on a high mountain peak, and around us and at our feet, open to our gaze, the lands and times spread out. Let us take advantage of this happiness, and look around with joy at all times and all peoples, and try to find the universal in their feelings and in the various creations into which these feelings pour out" [9, p. 58]. Wackenroder recognizes the beautiful in the art of different peoples as universal and strives to convince his contemporaries to find it in any art, and not to focus only on the "aesthetic object", phenomenologists would say, "rainbows" in their own eye.

Wackenroder finds an explanation for why different peoples have different forms of expression of beauty. He is convinced that the gift of creativity, as well as the gift of enjoying art, come from one divine source. At the same time, "the sense of beauty is the same heavenly ray, which, however, passing through the diverse facets of our other senses, is refracted in thousands of different colors in different lands" [9, p. 58]. So, in Africa, the ideal of beauty is seen in glossy black skin, curly hair and a snub-nosed face, and a white man there would hardly seem handsome; in India, he is embodied in multi-armed idols, and the Venus of Medicine would not make any aesthetic impression on the Hindus. Modern people (meaning romantics), realizing the reason for such a variety of expressions of beauty, have the happiness to enjoy it in all works of genuine art. They understand that heaven has chosen artists all over the world as "the instrument of its glorification" [9, p. 43].

So understanding art, Wackenroder sees its close connection with religion, their close functions in human life. People, the German romantic is convinced, are only gates, "through which, since the creation of the world, divine forces have reached the earth and visibly manifest themselves in religion and eternal art" [9, p. 141]. Accordingly, religion and art are the bridge by which people reach heaven, glorifying the Creator. Moreover, art appears to Wackenroder as a kind of helper of religion, elevating people to God. Thus, the old masters he loved always, the German thinker is convinced, dedicated their works to the Creator, bringing into them such a "serious and God-fearing spirit" and such a "humble simplicity", which are inherent only in sacred objects [9, p. 95]. They often started working on the painting with prayer and created the art itself as a prayer. Therefore, Wackenroder, considering any high art as a carrier of beauty oriented to the divine sphere, most of all reveres works directly related to religious subjects and liturgical practice, equally appreciating them in music, poetry and painting. "Without a doubt, judging by its subject, spiritual music is the noblest and most sublime music, just as in painting and poetry, the religious area dedicated to the Lord in this sense should be the most revered for a person" [9, p. 166]. And all these arts compete in their desire to get closer to the throne of the Lord. In this regard, music is the most daring among them, because it strives to expressively praise the Creator in an incomprehensible language, uniting people in a single harmony. In music, Wackenroder is convinced, the last secret of faith is revealed, it is truly "mysticism, a religion given in revelation" [9, p. 194]. In general, "everything great and to a high degree beautiful should be religion" [9, p. 192]. For Wackenroder, this is the highest appreciation of art as bringing a person closer to the Creator.

Reflecting on the communication of man with God, the German romantic turns to the language sphere. He considers verbal language to be the greatest gift of heaven, because with its help people communicate with each other and can designate many things from their earthly everyday life, as well as express their thoughts about many phenomena of the visible world. "Only the invisible that hovers over us cannot bring words down to our souls" [9, p. 66]. Calling earthly things by their names, we possess them, but when we try to name something from the divine sphere or the space of holiness, which should overflow our whole being with goodness, we feel only empty sounds. These spheres are not subject to verbal language. However, Wackenroder, not without inner pride, claims that he knows "two amazing languages" with which the Creator gave people the opportunity to "embrace and comprehend heavenly objects in all their glory." These objects come into our soul in a completely different way than verbal statements: "in an incomprehensible way, they suddenly excite our whole being and penetrate into every nerve and every drop of blood." These mysterious languages are nature and art. On the first of them the Lord himself speaks, on the second only a few of the chosen people.

Wackenroder shares his personal experience of understanding the Lord through nature, which revealed to him the essence of what he read in the ancient sacred books. The rustling of leaves, the rolling of thunder, the beautiful valley surrounded by picturesque rocks, the blue sky over the green lawn told Wackenroder mysterious things about God that cannot be expressed in words. The phenomena of nature, he writes, "caused more wonderful movements in the depths of my soul, more overflowed my spirit with the goodness and power of the Almighty and more purified and exalted my soul than verbal language has ever managed" [9, p. 67]. The verbal language appears to the Wackenroder to be more crude and mundane than the language of nature. At the same time, he admits that we do not know the essence of natural objects and phenomena. We do not know what a tree, a green lawn or a rock is. However, the Almighty has put into human hearts such an amazing propensity for natural objects that they inexplicably inspire us with feelings and thoughts that we would never have received from the most well-thought-out and structured words. Nature gives man something more to understand the heavenly mysteries than the wisest thoughts expressed in words can give; we receive from her vague "vague sensations of these mysteries", which the Lord himself has covered with a veil from the mind based on verbal language. And it is these "sensations" that apologists of verbal wisdom try to dismiss, and give a person greater and deeper knowledge in a nonverbal form about the divine sphere than any most developed verbal language. In fact, Wackenroder sees in nature a special language of symbols, with which the sky tells us about itself.

The German romantic sees a different kind of symbolic language in art, which is given a similar natural power over human hearts, but in other and also "dark and secret" forms. Art "speaks with the help of images of people and, thus, uses hieroglyphic writing, the signs of which are familiar and understandable to us in appearance. However, it so touchingly and delightfully fuses the spiritual and platonic with these visible images that even in this case our whole being and everything that is in us becomes agitated and is shaken to the ground" [9, p. 68]. First of all, this applies to paintings on religious themes. The teachings of the sages, says Wackenroder, activate only our "brain", which is only half of our "I". The other half, which includes the senses and the spirit, is affected by the languages of nature and art, bringing us knowledge of a higher level. At the same time, art, depicting the external forms of people and objects with the help of paints, "reveals to us the treasures of the human spirit, directs our gaze inside ourselves and in a human image shows us the invisible ... everything noble, great, divine" [9, p. 68]. Nature with its beautiful landscapes and art with its symbolic language bring the spirit of the beholder into sublime states.

The spiritual essence of artistic creativity

Moreover, art owes its origin and existence to nature, from which it borrows eternal harmony. The main source of art, Wackenroder never tires of repeating, is the divine sphere: art is of "heavenly origin" [9, p. 43]. It is created by the artist on the basis of inspiration, which cannot be described in words, because it is a gift from God, help to the artist from above [12]. To confirm this, Wackenroder composes or retells a legend according to which Raphael, according to him, was the Madonna herself, and it was her appearance that he tried to capture in his paintings. Heavenly forces helped him complete one of these paintings. One night, when he was praying to the Blessed Virgin in a dream, something suddenly woke him up. He saw an amazing glow on the wall opposite his bed. Looking closely, he saw that it "glows with the tenderest light his unfinished image of the Madonna hanging on the wall, and that it has become a completely finished and full of life painting. The divinity of her face so impressed him that he burst into tears" [9, p. 31].

The gift of divine inspiration, Wackenroder believes, was endowed not only by his beloved artist Raphael, but also by many of the old masters. Art is so great and diverse that it cannot all fit into the soul of one artist. The lot to be the creator of the beautiful falls to the lot of not only one chosen person, but many; "the radiance of the beautiful is split into thousands of rays and their reflections are variously returned to our admiring eyes by great artists whom heaven sent to earth" [9, p. 35]. That is why the old masters were proud of their art. Modern artists only flaunt themselves, clearly not having the gift of high creativity.

Using the example of the correspondence of Raphael composed by Wackenroder himself with a certain pupil of Antonio, who idolized him, the German romantic shows that not everyone is still given this gift. The student who addressed in a letter to Raphael with a request to reveal the secret of his talent, to tell how he achieves an amazing artistic effect in his painting, clearly did not have such a gift, Wackenroder believes, because in order to receive it, it is necessary to be wise and exalted in spirit: "... with all the constancy of his diligence and his truly indestructible thirst to create something sublime, he was at the same time endowed with a certain lack of intelligence and limitation of spirit, in which the flower of art grows depressed and sickly and never ascends to heaven free and healthy." It was precisely this state of mental strength that gave rise to many artisans from art [9, p. 38].

Raphael treats Antonio with understanding and sympathy and explains to him that he does not know any secret of creativity. Just as a person cannot explain why he has a rough or gentle voice, so he, Raphael, cannot say why the paintings coming out from under his brush have this, and not a different look. I do not know, Raphael writes to the student, how it turns out that people are happy in my paintings, but I write them "as if in a pleasant dream and while working I think about the subject itself, rather than how I will depict it" [9, p. 41]. Wackenroder expresses here his ideas about artistic creativity, the gift of which comes to a person from above, but he himself must have certain spiritual qualities in order to be able to accept and properly use this gift. And the creative process itself is carried out mostly unconsciously, and the artist's attention is directed more at the object of the image itself than at the image.

One of the essential aspects of creativity, Antonio writes to his friend Jacobo, is the artist's love for his chosen one (she seems to remove the veil from her eyes and opens the world in all its beauty), and for the subject of the image. He is convinced that Raphael would understand him in this regard. Wackenroder's response to Jacobo develops Antonio's idea of earthly love as an assistant in the aesthetic perception of the world and creativity and deepens it. Love, of course, opens our eyes to ourselves and overshadows us with enlightenment, in which the whole surrounding world appears transformed; "thousands of sensations, previously faintly flickering in the secret corners of the heart, burst into a bright flame: ... and then art, with all its shades, especially penetrates into the very depths of our heart." However, at the same time, the artist is exposed to great danger to see only himself in every work of art. What saves him from this artistic egoism is the love of art, which should be higher and more important for him than earthly love. An artist should find in himself each of his beautiful works, and not look for himself in it. Art must become "his supreme beloved, for it is of heavenly origin"; must "become his divine love or his beloved deity. ... And only then on this promised land, illuminated by the morning sun and permeated with unearthly bliss, feelings like beautiful flowers will bloom under the breath of a refreshing breeze" [9, pp. 43-44]. It is such feelings that a Wackenroder experiences when contemplating the works of old masters [13].

In the process of creativity, the artist, according to Wackenroder, must rely on nature, its internal laws, which he does not understand with his mind, but feels with an artistically heightened sense. He should "take into himself the whole of nature and, having animated it, revive it again in a beautiful transformation" [9, p. 73]. It is this transformation of nature that elevates art above it in its own way and gives it the independent status of a special divine language. At the same time, the artist's spirit must be calm and contemplative in order to be able to correctly reflect the essence of natural phenomena, their heavenly origin. "In a stormy and foaming sea, the sky is not reflected trees, rocks, clouds running through the sky, and stars look with pleasure into a quiet river" [9, p. 74].

Wackenroder, like other romantics, is convinced that the creative process begins in the inner world of the artist, who, before taking up the brush, reflects on the future picture and builds it up to the smallest detail in front of his inner eye. In this case, he considers half of the work done and takes up the second the realization of the painting on canvas. At the same time, in the process of working on the painting itself, he completely gets used to the depicted world, empathizing with the characters: he "so vividly immersed his soul in the objects depicted by him that he felt in himself the sensations and states that he wanted to portray, and involuntarily manifested them in his behavior" [9, p. 91].

For many romantics of that time, the idea of creating a prototype of the work in the inner world was very clear and close. For example, E.T.A. Hoffman in the "Artus Hall" from the "Serapion Brothers" depicts an old artist who sits in front of a clean primed canvas and tells in the smallest detail what is depicted in the painting that has not yet been painted. "Here the old man began to explain the individual groups, drew Traugot's attention to the remarkable distribution of light and shadow, to the brightness of colors in colors and metals, to the amazing figures emerging from the cups of lilies and joining into cheerful strings of charming young men and girls, to bearded men talking to animals in their language" [14, p. 126; 15].

For a genuine artist, Wackenroder argued, art is a "great deity" who possesses him with extraordinary power, and he subordinates his whole life to creativity. Using the example of many old masters, Wackenroder shows this, believing that art is worthy of all reverence, but not the artist himself, who is only his tool. At the same time, the artist must create only for himself, because the deity of art lives in his inner world. Only in this case genuine inspired masterpieces come out from under his brush [13].

Perception of art is a creative act

Highly appreciating art, Wackenroder pays special attention to the perception of works of art, being convinced that the essence of art "is comprehended only by selected selected souls" [9, p. 62]. And the highest beauty in art is fully perceived only with deep concentration on a particular work the bearer of this beauty and does not allow our eye to turn aside to another beauty when perceiving it. The German aesthetician compares the contemplation of a work of art with prayer, figuratively depicting the very process of the descent of an unearthly radiance into the soul of a believer. Both heaven and art should not be taken in vain only as for the fulfillment of some duty. Only he is loved by heaven, who waits for hours in humble anguish, when the heavenly ray itself will descend to him, tearing the shell of the earthly "insignificance" covering the human soul, "will untie and interpret his nobler inner essence." Only then does a person "kneel, in quiet delight turns his open chest to the heavenly light and saturates it with unearthly radiance" [9, p. 75]. And in the same way, Wackenroder is convinced, one should approach great works of art only in this case they will bring bliss and pleasure to the soul.

As with prayer, the perception of art requires special spiritual preparation and expectation of "those blissful hours when the grace of heaven will illuminate your soul with the highest revelation; only then will your soul merge into a single whole with the works of artists." Their images are mute and self-contained as long as you look at them with cold eyes; "in order for them to speak to you and act on you with all their power, your heart must first appeal to them" [9, p. 75]. Works of art, Wackenroder is convinced, are as far from the ordinary course of life as thoughts about God. They go far beyond the ordinary and everyday. A person must rise in the depths of his heart to a work of art, so that it appears to him, breaking the veil of obscurity of his eyes, in his entire exalted being. Art is beautiful and sublime in its essence, therefore, the person who perceives it must awaken in himself the ability to perceive the beautiful and sublime [16].

Works of art do not exist for our eyes to see them mechanically, but for deep penetration into them "so that we enter them with a heart disposed to them, so that we live and breathe in them." A beautiful picture is not a paragraph from a textbook that we fully comprehend if we are familiar with the language in which it is written. The comprehension of art, unlike the usual pragmatic text, is inexhaustible. "The enjoyment of great works of art goes on forever, without ceasing. It seems to us that we are penetrating deeper and deeper into them, and yet they constantly excite our feelings again and again, and we do not see any limit, having reached which we would consider that our soul has exhausted them. The burning lamp of life is always burning in them, which will never fade away in our eyes" [9, p. 76].

When perceiving art, one should not dwell on the first effect of novelty, which we encounter when starting to enter into an artistic work. Genuine enjoyment of art is achieved as a result of quiet and calm concentration of the soul, accompanied by deep inner excitement. Only in this case, the work enters our souls and remains alive there, continuing to excite us until the end of our days. A person endowed with the gift of subtly feeling art sees its charm even where an ordinary person will pass by indifferently, not realizing that he is dealing with spiritual treasures. The main thing is that when perceiving art, one cannot rise above the spirit of great artists with arrogant audacity, one cannot approach their work with an ordinary human standard. This is an empty idea of vain human pride. "Art is higher than man, we can only admire and honor the beautiful works of art and to elevate and purify all our feelings to reveal our whole soul to them" [9, p. 77]. To love and honor art is a rare gift from heaven, and it "melts our whole being into pure gold" [9, p. 77]. Thanks to art, a person attains bliss already in earthly life, and it accompanies him constantly.

Deeply feeling and experiencing art, especially painting and music, Wackenroder reveals its enthusiastic nature, being convinced that the whole sphere of the beautiful and sublime causes enthusiasm in souls with the gift of aesthetic perception. The enthusiasm of communicating with art is not a glorification of someone else's spirit, but a "beautiful confession of our own" when he is imbued with art. A person experiences similar enthusiasm in aesthetic communication with nature, feeling kinship with the heavenly bodies and all living things that fill the earth. Indescribable bliss overwhelms him then, and his enthusiasm turns into a prayer of praise to the Almighty, who created this world filled with beautiful and sublime phenomena.

The phenomenon of music

Wackenroder describes his own state of perception of church music in the temple. It "flowed in ever more powerful waves, like the sea, and the sounds seemed to pull my whole soul out of my body. My heart was beating, and I felt a passionate longing for something great and sublime. The sonorous Latin singing, which rose and fell on the waves of music, like a ship sailing on the sea, lifted my spirit higher and higher." And when the music penetrated Wackenroder's whole being, he saw everything around him in a transformed form [9, p. 84]. Music awakens in a person so many amazing, wonderful images that the soul is immersed in boundless bliss and indescribable joy. "Truly, to rejoice in sounds, pure sounds is an innocent, touching pleasure" [9, p. 160]. In music, a person takes refuge from the worldly bustle, permeated with some kind of worthless struggle of everyone with everyone. Wackenroder compares the country of music with the country of faith. In it, all doubts and sufferings disappear, we forget about people's hubbub and empty chatter, about unnecessary information, get rid of all fear. Our soul is healed by getting into the world of musical images and aerial paintings, contemplating miracles, incomprehensible and sublime, which we do not meet in everyday life, but which elevate us to completely different joyful worlds [17].

Wackenroder is surprised that all this charm is created with the help of some numerical ratios and tools made of coarse matter. And he convinces himself and readers that the indescribable mystery of the effect of music on a person could not have arisen without the participation of the "invisible harp of the Lord", which joins our earthly sounds. The German thinker considers music to be the most wonderful and amazing of the arts, it "describes human feelings in a superhuman language, because it shows all the movements of our soul in an insubstantial form, lifting them above our heads in golden clouds of ethereal harmonies, because it speaks a language that we do not know in our everyday life, which we have not learned where and how and which seems to be the language of angels alone" [9, p. 163]. Music reduces all the movements of our soul, says Wackenroder, to the same beautiful melodies that speak of all the diverse human feelings: grief and joy, sadness and passion, with equally harmonious sounds, awakening in us "true clarity of spirit, which is the most beautiful treasure available to a mortal" [9, p. 163]. Expressing human feelings with its harmonic language, music enhances and ennobles them, lifting a person with their help into the spiritual worlds [18].

Wackenroder assigns a special and highest place in this regard to church music, paying special attention to it. This music is all dedicated to heavenly objects and praises the Creator in various ways, among which the German theorist identifies at least three types. The first of them is naive, joyful and cheerful music that praises God in simple and understandable melodies, as children praise their father on his birthday or simple people praise their benefactor. The soul of people composing such publicly available music rises up easily and gracefully. This type of music is accessible to most people and loved by them. Another more sublime type of church music exists only for a select few. Simple melodies of sounds do not add up here according to well-known rules. The creators of this music "use huge masses of sounds as amazing colors in order to use them to depict the great, sublime and divine to our ears" [9, p. 167]. They consider it unworthy to praise God "on the little fluttering wings of moths," but prefer the mighty eagle wings to them. They do not arrange sounds in orderly rows like flowers in flower beds, but they create high mountains and spacious valleys with palm groves, at the sight of which we ascend to the Lord. "This music pours with strong, slow, proud harmonies and thereby pushes the limits of our soul and plunges it into the tension that is generated in us by lofty thoughts, and itself generates lofty thoughts" [9, p. 167]. Or this music thunders with powerful chords, like thunder in the mountains, lifting the soul, overflowing with the thought of God's omnipotence, to heaven, elevating it to God himself.

The power of such music is not inherent in a completely different quiet and penitent music of humble people, always prostrate in prayer to God. They created old church chorales that sound completely different from the music of the first two types. "Their penitent muse revels in the same chords for a long time; only gradually does she decide to move on to the neighboring ones; but each new change of chords, even the simplest in this heavy, full-fledged flow turns our whole soul, and the slow procession of powerful sounds makes us shudder with fear, our heart contracts and comes with the last sigh" [9, p. 168]. It has bitter, soul-crushing consonances, and it shrinks into a trembling lump before the Lord. Then, however, pure, transparent sounds free the heart from its shackles, comfort and enlighten the soul and lift it up.

Interest in the spiritual quality of music, and above all church music, was inherent in all German Romantics. Particular attention was paid to it, in particular, by E.T.A. Hoffman [19]. In the Serapion Brothers, he wrote that "no art can be closer and more akin to the spirit than music, and none needs a more ethereal and spiritual means for its expression. Striving for the high and holy, the desire to express in a visible way the power of the spirit that warms and animates the entire universe, is the task of music, and this task is best performed in the form of a hymn of gratitude to the Creator as the best and highest manifestation of our feelings" [14, p. 317]. This is what connects, according to Hoffmann, music with religion.

With no less interest than in church music, Wackenroder treats modern music, especially instrumental music, arguing that it combines the depth of content, sensual power and "vague, fantastic significance" [9, p. 171]. The musical material itself, like no other, is filled with the heavenly spirit, which is perceived by the heart, not by the mind there is a deep gulf between them. The mind can say something about the superficial levels of art, but not penetrate into its essence. A person striving for a genuine perception of art pushes thoughts away from him as blocking his path and penetrates into the holy of holies of art, feeling well that secrets surround him from all sides. In music, as in a rushing stream of water, nothing can be calculated or described in words. In the mirror of musical sounds, our "heart knows itself; it is thanks to them that we learn to feel feelings; they awaken spirits slumbering in the secret corners of our soul, and enrich our inner world with completely new wonderful feelings" [9, p. 175].

Music, like other arts, Wackenroder is convinced, condenses feelings that wander in a disjointed form in ordinary life; "it dissects the united, firmly connects the dissected." The waves of music carry "pure, immaterial essence" and "thousand-fold transitions of feelings" [9, p. 175]. The sensual power of music brings to life countless hordes of fantastic images that accompany any piece of music. We see and feel that skipping, dancing fun, then firm, calm contentment, then courageous exultation, then sweet longing for love, then deep suffering, then playful, overcoming all the shackles of enthusiasm. It is impossible to calculate, says Wackenroder, "all these changeable aerial fantasies that sounds evoke in our imagination" [9, p. 177]. The apogee of musical influence on a person, when whole huge worlds of feelings and affects are aroused in him, is symphonic music. Wackenroder perceives it in the mode of the sublime, characterized by phenomena of incommensurably high and terrible, exceeding human perception. In the soul of the listener to the symphony, joy and pain, nature and artificiality, innocence and frenzy, laughter and fear are friends and "related to each other." Nowhere else but in symphonic music is such a unity of many opposites achieved [9, p. 178].

The symphony, Wackenroder is convinced, represents the pinnacle not only of music, combining all the achievements of instrumental genres, but also of any kind of art. In it, the very essence of art poetry - appears in its purest form. In the symphony, the composer "can speak in a high poetic language that tears off the veils from the most wonderful that is in us and reveals to us all the depths, here he can awaken the greatest and most bizarre images and unlock locked grottoes" [9, p. 196]. Such deep and powerful dramas can be created in symphonies, which no poet can reveal, "because they reveal the most mysterious in a mysterious language; they do not depend on the laws of plausibility, they do not need to be based on any plot or character, they remain in their world of pure poetry" [9, p. 196]. At the same time, the sounds of the symphony contain such vivid visual images that we can say about the symphony that it captivates our eye and ear at the same time.

Wackenroder describes "two kinds of enjoyment of music." The first, which he calls authentic, is a complete immersion in the musical element without any extraneous thoughts, a greedy absorption of all musical movements. This kind of perception requires a lot of tension from the listener, and in this mode you can listen to music for no more than an hour. Then the soul just gets tired. Wackenroder does not attribute the second type of perception of music to genuine enjoyment. Here, some activity of the spirit joins the feelings, i.e. mental activity that takes the listener to some distant spaces initiated by music, but not directly related to it. This kind of enjoyment is characteristic of aestheticians, to whom Wackenroder counts himself, claiming that he thinks best about music while listening to it: "I, as an aesthetician, can think best about it" [9, p. 205]. The German thinker is convinced that music ennobles people, it "powerfully awakens love for man and for the world in our breasts, it inspires us with tolerance for our worst enemies, and our enlightened heart hears only the victorious song of its divine transformation, drowning out all complaints, all abuse, all pitiful speeches" [9, p. 184].

Painting in a romantic light

Wackenroder values painting no less highly than music, paying much attention to it in his works. Especially the works of the old masters, who understood art as the main business of their lives, moreover, the romantic aesthetician is convinced, "art and life were fused together for them, and in this intimate, strengthening unity they walked through a shaky world with an even firmer and more confident step" [9, p. 119]. Renaissance artists have erected a completely new "magnificent kingdom" of art. In the spirit of romantic hyperbolization and laudation, Wackenroder convinces readers that it was "they who first managed to conquer and, as it were, enchant the wild nature with their witchcraft charms, that it was they who first carved the spark of art out of the chaos of the universe. Each of them shone with special great perfections, and altars were erected to many of them in the temple of art" [9, p. 44].

As already mentioned, Wackenroder values Raphael above other Renaissance artists, who serves him as a "firm measure of everything great and beautiful", through his work Wackenroder comprehends art as a whole [9, p. 146]. Contemplating the paintings of Raphael, the German aesthetician forgets about the colors and the art of painting, and immediately feels an extraordinary humility before his heavenly images, imbued with love for them, gives them his soul and heart. Moreover, Raphael's art, in the eyes of Wackenroder, seems to clothe the artist's personality with its beautiful, highly spiritual cover, and the German aesthetician embodies his perception of Raphael's art in a conversation with the artist himself as with the living quintessence of his art. In one of the many appeals to Raphael, the German romantic pours out his soul in love with the artist with pathos: "You are always with me... a wonderful unspeakable bliss comes from you and covers me like waves when I imagine you, your name, your image, the high spirit controlling youeverything that makes you alone more magnificent than others." All this "twists inextricable chains around me, as if on angelic wings holding me between heaven and earth" [9, p. 131]. The image of Raphael, which arose in the inner world of Wackenroder under the impression of his painting, serves him as a guardian angel, to whom he calls for help in his earthly vale. "... and the gentle sunlight spreads over the dark earth, flowers break out of it, charming heralds of spring, you send a host of angelic images into my indignant soul, and the stormy waves subside, and silence ensues" [9, p. 133].

A completely different impression on Wackenroder is made by Michelangelo's painting, his "Last Judgment". In this great artist, as in Dante's poetry, the German aesthetician sees a powerful allegorical "exaltation of the Catholic religion" [9, p. 135] with its wealth of artistic forms. The German thinker admires the power of Dante's poetry, its prophetic, firmly woven tercines, the power of his poems, which are never interrupted anywhere and do not give the reader a moment's rest, do not allow him to stop. They introduce a "mysterious allegory" in which there is not a single superfluous object, not a single insignificant line; all the poet's forces are focused on creating a "huge magical impression" that completely captures the reader with its charm and elevates him to the mystical mysteries of Christianity.

"This is also the property of Buonarotti's creation. Enter the Chapel with sacred awe, and the sublime prophetic tercins will turn to you, take your spirit to heaven, no stopping, no insignificant objects, no place for the eye to rest. The whole world, past and future, is cramped here in inhumanly bold poetry. ... The eternal images reflect Angelo's greatness, his fierce grace, his terrifying beauty" [9, p. 136]. Wackenroder emphasizes the deep allegorism of the entire painting of the Sistine Chapel, but especially the image of the "Last Judgment", giving his interpretations of a number of pictorial fragments. It is allegorism, emphasizes the German aesthetician, which frees the image from all the charm of the casual and private, gives power to Michelangelo's fresco.

So, Wackenroder draws attention to the image in the upper part of the painting of the scene of the exaltation of the cross by angels. He emphasizes the tension with which they do this, although the angels are depicted here in the form of mighty muscular men. He sees a deep allegorical meaning in this. It is unlikely that several angels could not easily lift the cross that Jesus alone carried on earth. The point here is different: "The sins of the human race, the torments of the Savior give this heaviness to the cross, it is constantly being pulled down; until the glory of the Lord shines, until the blessed ascend, and sinners are cast into hell, it is impossible to erect a cross" [9, p. 137]. Let us not reproach Wackenroder with the fact that in the depicted event sinners are already being punished, and the righteous are ascending to paradise, so that the cross could already stand firmly on the firmament of heaven. It is more important for us that the German romantic is inclined to see purely allegorical images in Michelangelo's painting, i.e. to see invisible meanings both in individual fragments and in the painting as a whole. Describing many specific subjects of the image, Wackenroder does not tire of saying: "Every detail of the picture is subordinated to allegory" [9, p. 137].

At the same time, he emphasizes the purely sublime character of the entire image, believing that beauty, grace, grace would kill the picture. Before us is an authentic image of the Last Judgment, the end of time, when the dead are called from their coffins to the last and righteous judgment, and the whole image is permeated with fear and horror of the threatening unknown future. "Horror and cold despair, the wildest and most terrifying, are presented here with such force of imagination that one cannot be surprised at a great mortal who coolly used such images and forced everything to serve his sublime purpose" [9, p. 138]. In the picture, all means are aimed at expressing the highest tension, fear, horror, but also great hope. Even in the figures of the righteous and patriarchs, this tension is felt. Michelangelo, Wackenroder concludes, managed to figuratively convey what happens after everything described in the Bible the end of time and the earthly existence of people.

Michelangelo and Ludwig Tieck highly appreciated The Last Judgment. In his aesthetic novel "The Wanderings of Franz Sternbald", he guides the reader through a number of facets of fine art from the close to realistic in Durer through the sensual (Correggio and other Italians of the Renaissance) to the deeply symbolic (allegorical in his terminology) "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel. Shocked by this fresco, its power and strength, the protagonist of the novel exclaims: "Here he is, your apotheosis, Buonarotti, a seer, a participant in the greatest mysteries. ... Here are the frightening riddles created by you, and you don't care whether they are intelligible to us or not" [20, p. 220].

Leonardo da Vinci's Wackenroder sees something completely different. He focuses on the fact that art and knowledge go hand in hand with the great artist, that he has a "lively and cheerful spirit" and a mighty diligence, which manifested themselves in all areas of his diverse activities, including painting, sculpture and architecture. Leonardo has always been immersed in art and science and has never stooped to everyday life. In this, Wackenroder saw the ideal of a genuine artist who, with all his creativity, was called upon to please the souls of people with what was inaccessible to them in everyday life. In the very fact that Leonardo very soon surpassed his teacher Andrea Verrocchio in art, the German romantic sees an additional proof that "art is not really studied and taught, it is only necessary to lead and direct its flow at first, then it will flow freely from the artist's own soul" [9, p. 46].

Relying on Leonardo's own treatise, Wackenroder emphasizes that the genius of the Renaissance, having theoretically come to the understanding that an artist should learn from nature, observe it in all its manifestations and be able to depict every object of nature with artistic techniques characteristic of him, followed these rules in his art. The German thinker especially admires Leonardo's ability to depict a person and the human body in all its details, turns, mental moods, spiritual states, etc. Leonardo's soul language and body language which he himself declares in his treatise, Wackenroder emphasizes are united in his depictions of a person.

At the same time, the German aesthetician notes that Leonardo well understood that the spirit of fine art is "a flame of a completely different kind than that which inspires the poet" [9, p. 47]. The poet is guided only by the movements of his heart, the painter must diligently "visit the outside world", collecting objects and forms in it, which will then be stored in his soul until they are used in creativity. Wackenroder emphasizes the peculiarity of Leonardo's creative method of contemplating old walls that time has decorated with various lines and spots, as well as peering into the veins and coloring of multicolored stones. In all this he saw some projects of his future paintings. Wackenroder concludes with admiration that "Leonardo's great and incomparable spirit was able to extract gold from all things, even the smallest and most insignificant" [9, p. 48], the gold of art.

Of the German artists, Wackenroder appreciates Durer the most, confessing his love to him. In Durer's art, he is especially attracted by the vitality of the figures depicted, the skillful transfer of the spiritual nature of a person and his spiritual movements in the faces [21]. The German thinker contrasts him with contemporary artists who, in an effort to please customers, chase after external effects, unable to convey the depth and essence of a person. They fill their paintings with a lot of pleasant colors, the play of light and shadow, forgetting about the person being depicted, who appears to them "as an inevitable evil" necessary for their pictorial balancing act [9, p. 61]. "Woe to our age, Wackenroder exclaims in his hearts, "who sees art as nothing but frivolous fun, whereas after all it is truly something serious and sublime" [9, p. 61].

Wackenroder dedicated his books to the seriousness, sublimity, spirituality and beauty of art. His "fantasies" about art became not only a genuine manifesto of romantic aesthetics, but retain their significance to this day.

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