|Viktoriapark in Berlin with neogothic memorial on Kreuzberg in the background|
|Schinkel: Gotische Klosterruine und Baumgruppen (1809)|
There are, however, still today people who nourish an enthusiasm for a romanticised medievalism. At the main railway station in Berlin I recently noticed a number of issues of a German magazine called Miroque Lebendige Geschichte, a popular magazine that deals with e.g. everyday life in the middle ages and carries ads for medieval style paraphernalia like clothes and tournament tents! I purchased Edition nr. 5 - III/2012 subtitled Kabinett des Grauens vom Mittelalter zur Moderne, i.e. a cabinet of horrors from the middle ages to our modern day.
Dr. Utz Anhalt and is simply a mix of fact and fiction about vampires. A very short interview with Mark Benecke concerns scientific explanations of cases of the masticating dead and vampires. The magazine also deals with horror films set in the past (or perhaps rather a fictional version of the past), 'dark' novels, and Jack the Ripper. Obviously, all this is more about making the reader shudder with a mix of horror and delight than about history.
'is conceived to stimulate interest in the sombre aspects of Romanticism and to expand understanding of this movement. Many of the artistic developments and positions presented here emerge from a shattered trust in enlightened and progressive thought, which took hold soon after the French Revolution – initially celebrated as the dawn of a new age – at the end of the 18th century. Bloodstained terror and war brought suffering and eventually caused the social order in large parts of Europe to break down. The disillusionment was as great as the original enthusiasm when the dark aspects of the Enlightenment were revealed in all their harshness. Young literary figures and artists turned to the reverse side of Reason. The horrific, the miraculous and the grotesque challenged the supremacy of the beautiful and the immaculate. The appeal of legends and fairy tales and the fascination with the Middle Ages competed with the ideal of Antiquity. The local countryside became increasingly attractive and was a favoured subject for artists. The bright light of day encountered the fog and mysterious darkness of the night.'
The exhibition travels to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris in March. A voluminous catalogue is available in both German and English from Hatje Cantz Verlag.