Whether scenes of untamed high alpine nature, dramatic turning points in Swiss history or stirring shipwrecks: the exhibition on Swiss Romanticism transformed the Kunsthaus Zürich into a panorama of great emotions. Those who experienced it were thrilled. Scheduled to run until 14 February, "Wild at heart " still has to be dismantled during the ongoing lockdown to make way for the next presentation. Until then, we are keeping the romance alive in virtual space - with a video introduction to the exhibition by curator Jonas Beyer, as an illustrated audio guide and as a radio play, backed with views from the originally planned stage version.

An audiotour in 14 minutes

On the basis of eight outstanding works, you will gain insight into the world of Romanticism as the art education team sees it.


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Swiss Romanticism

With over 150 works spanning the arc from Henry Fuseli to Alexandre Calame and the early Arnold Böcklin. It reveals the considerable contribution made by Swiss artists to the development of European landscape painting, follows them to academies abroad, and explores the close ties between them. The overview will also extend to famous Romantics from other countries such as Caspar David Friedrich, Eugène Delacroix and J.M.W. Turner, thus adding an international perspective to the appreciation of Swiss Romanticism.

In the late 18th century, Romanticism spread across Europe. Artists began creating works that focused on feelings and the fascination of the unfathomable, in contrast to the sober, rational art of Neoclassicism. The Swiss discovered the visual potential of their own landscapes, committing the majestic Alpine environment and the eternal ice of the glaciers to canvas. Curator Jonas Beyer draws our attention to a key era of Swiss art history that until now has only been explored through myriad individual aspects.

Romantik__Ulrich__Brennendes Dampfschiff.jpg
Johann Jakob Ulrich, Steamship Burning on a Stormy Sea, 1850–1853, Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig
Arnold Böcklin, Fir trees, 1849, Kunstmuseum Basel, bequest Clara Böcklin 1923
Alexandre Calame, Le Grand Eiger at Sunrise, 1844 (detail), deposited by the Swiss Confederation, Federal Office of Culture, Gottfried Keller Foundation
Léopold Robert, Brigand’s wife watching over her sleeping husband, 1821, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Sturzenegger, Painting Collection, acquired 1936
Joseph Mallord William Turner, On Lake Lucerne looking towards Fluelen, 1841, The Courtauld Gallery, Miss Dorothy Scharf; bequest; 2007

Romanticism lives on

A presentation of this scope has been made possible by loans of valuable works from Swiss collections and the inclusion of precious exhibits from Germany, Austria, the UK and France. The list of artists extends from pre-Romantic painters of the calibre of Caspar Wolf and Johann Heinrich Wüest, via well-known names from the Romantic era such as the Swiss Alexandre Calame, Charles Gleyre and Léopold Robert, to international greats including Eugène Delacroix, Caspar David Friedrich and J.M.W. Turner. Meanwhile the video works ‘Everything is going to be alright’ by Guido van der Werve, ‘Projection (matin)’ by Remy Zaugg and David Claerbout’s ‘Travel’ remind us that the Romantic ideas of the late 18th and early 19th centuries still resonate in the present day.

Curator: Jonas Beyer


Image above:

Ford Madox Brown, Manfred on the Jungfrau, 1842, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, Gift of Mr Frederick William Jackson

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