No Comment, Quotation — February 17, 2008, 12:18 am

Wackenroder on Human Commonality in Art


[D]em ewigen Geiste löst sich alles in Harmonie auf; er weiß, daß ein jeder die Sprache redet, die Er ihm angeschaffen hat, daß ein jeder sein Inneres äußert wie er kann und soll; — wenn sie in ihrer Blindheit unter einander streiten, so weiß und erkennt Er, daß für sich ein jeglicher Recht hat; er sieht mit Wohlgefallen auf jeden und auf alle, und freut sich des bunten Gemisches. . . Ihm ist der gotische Tempel so wohlgefällig als der Tempel des Griechen; und die rohe Kriegsmusik der Wilden ist Ihm ein so lieblicher Klang, als kunstreiche Chöre und Kirchengesänge.

Und wenn ich nun von Ihm, dem Unendlichen, durch die unermeßlichen Räume des Himmels, wieder zur Erde gelange, und mich unter meinen Mitbrüdern umsehe,–ach! So muß ich laute Klagen erheben, daß sie ihrem ewigen großen Vorbilde im Himmel so wenig ähnlich zu werden sich bestreben. . .

O so ahndet euch doch in die fremden Seelen hinein, und merket, daß ihr mit euren verkannten Brüdern die Geistesgaben aus derselben Hand empfangen habt!

The Eternal Spirit knows that each individual speaks the language which He has provided him, that each expresses his innermost in the fashion in which he can and should, and that all dissolves into harmony; — if they clash in their blindness among one another, then He knows and recognizes, that each has his right; He looks with satisfaction upon each and all, and He is pleased with the colorful mixture. . . To him the Gothic temple may be just as pleasing as a Greek temple; and the raw martial music of the savages is just as pleasing a tone as the artistic chorals and church hymns.

And when I turn from Him, the Eternal, passing through the unmeasurable rooms of heaven, back to the earth, and find myself once more in the company of my fellow brothers,–ah! How loudly must I complain that they give so little effort to be like their eternal great model in heaven. . .

If you penetrate into foreign spirits then take notice that you take your intellectual gifts from the same hands as they.

Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, Herzensergießungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders, „Einige Worte über Allgemeinheit, Toleranz und Menschenliebe in der Kunst“ (1797) in: Sämtliche Werke und Briefe, vol. 1, pp. 87-88 (S. Vietta ed. 1991)(S.H. transl.)

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