H. C. (Hans Christian) Andersen.

A poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient online

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caught, the wild knight pined in this castle where the linden-
tree grows ; his last morning came, and he was permitted,
according to the good old custom always allowed the con-
demned, that before his death he might have a wish granted,
and the knight begged that he might once more ride his
faithful steed.

The horse neighed with pleasure, and proudly bore his
master round the little yard : and the knight stroked its
powerful and slender neck. The muscles of the noble ani-
mal appeared to swell, its hoofs struck the pavement ; more
and more vigorous and rapid, it hurried on in a circle, so



NUREMBERG. 2 3

that the warder and the soldiers had to keep themselves
close to the wall to afford it space ; and they did so without
fear, for they knew the castle gate was well secured, and that
the knight could not escape. Yet, if they could have read
in the horse's eye what was there to read, says the chron-
icle, they would have stopped the steed in its flight, and
bound the strong hands of the wild knight. And what stood
in its eye ? It spoke its dumb but fiery language :

"In this wretched court thy knightly blood ought not to
flow ! Here thy active, merry life ought not to end ! Shall
I no longer bear thee in the gay battle, through the deep
ravines and the green forests? Shall I no longer eat the
corn from thy brave hand ? Trust to my immense strength,
and I will save thee!"

And the steed reared, the knight struck his spurs in its
sides, drew his breath hard, bent himself over its neck,
sparks flew from its iron-shod hoofs, and half the miracle
was done, for the horse stood on the battlements, and a mo-
ment after they both flew over the broad moat, and were
saved. When the wind blows through the leaves of the lin-
den-tree it tells of it.

Below the castle, in a street close by, is an old house of
three stories, the one projecting a little over the other. Every
stranger stops to look at it. In the front room hang shields
with armorial bearings, sent from the different towns in Ba-
varia. What house is this ? We go but a few paces round
the corner, and in the little square stands the statue of its
owner : the metal glitters in the sun ; it is Albert Durer's
monument by Rauch. 1

The energetic mind that lived in Regiomontan, Albert
Diirer, and Peter Fischer, has not departed ; there are vigor
and industry in this city.

1 The monument was erected on the 2ist of May, 1840, the younger
portion of the community singing enthusiastic songs ; and at the illumi-
nation which took place the following inscription was seen on Diirer't
house :

" In diesem Hause schuf einst Diirer seine Werke
Und hier that ihm die Kunst den Freudenhimmel arf,
Und hoher stieg er stets mit neuer Kraft und Starke
Er lebte, liebte, litt, uud schlosz hier beinem Lauf."



24 A POET'S BAZAAR.

It is true, during my short stay I only became acquainted
with one house, but all within bore the stamp of what we
call the good old times. The master of this house was the
picture of honesty and sagacity, a man such as the people
represent their old citizens to have been.

Nuremberg resembles some few strong old men, in whom
youth still remains, in whom thought is yet active, and lively,
and enterprising. The railroad from Nuremberg to Fiirth is
a striking example of this, for that railroad was the first
laid down in Germany. Old Nuremberg was the first city
that entered into the gigantic idea of the new time that of
uniting towns and cities by steam and iron ties.



IX.

A WISH ACCOMPLISHED.

WHEN I was a child, I had a little show-box in which
all the pictures were cut out of an old book ; every picture
represented a Gothic building, a cloister or a church, and
outside were finely sculptured fountains ; but on each of
them I read a name at the bottom, and this name was on
them all : " Augsburg."

How often have I not looked at these pictures and wandered
in thought amongst them ; but I could never rightly get to
know what was behind the street corner. And now now I
stood in the midst of these pictures' realities ; I was in
Augsburg itself! and the more I looked at the old houses
with their walls painted in variegated colors, the jagged
gables, the old churches and statues around the fountains,
the more it appeared to me to be a piece of enchantment
I was now in the midst of the show-box, and had got my
childhood's wish accomplished. If I desired, I could get to
know what there was behind the street corner.

I knew this street corner again ; I went round it. I found
pictures, and those such as I had no idea of when a child,
which not even the world knew of at that time. Here was an
exhibit 'on of daguerreotype pictures, which a painter named



A WISH ACCOMPLISHED. 25

Iseuring from St. Gallen had opened. There were but few
landscapes and architectural pieces, but a number of portraits
of different sizes, all taken by the daguerreotype. They were
excellent : one could see that they must be likenesses ; it was
as if one looked at the originals " in little " on a steel plate on
which they were engraved ; and every feature was so exactly
shown that even the eye had a clearness and expression. The
most felicitous delineation was in the silk dresses of the ladies ;
it seemed as if one could hear them rustle. There were
also some few attempts to give the portraits color ; but they
all appeared like faces by a strong fire-light ; there was too
much of a red illumination.

Did I not think thus when a child ? could I but get round
that corner, I should get to see new pictures ; and I got to
see new ones the newest our time has given us.

How did I not wish when I looked through the glass in the
show-box : " O, that I could go up that broad flight of steps,
and in through that old-fashioned door ! " I could now do
so, and I did so, and stood in the lower hall of that splendid
Town Hall, where bronze busts of Roman emperors gaze at
the colossal eagle, which, like themselves, was cast in bronze,
but more movable. Napoleon once commanded that it should
fly to Paris. The Emperor's bird ought to be in the Emper-
or's city ; and the bird flew, but on the frontiers, where the
tower of Strasbourg stands like a guide-post, the eagle rested.
At dawn of morning the Gallic cock crew, as the cock crowed
when Peter betrayed his master. Great events had come to
light ; then the eagle flew back again to old Augsburg, where
it still sits and meditates. That is what I saw when I went
up the broad steps, and in through the large, old-fashioned
door.

" Could I but be amongst those buildings ! " was my wish
when a child : and I came amongst them in the only likely
and desirable manner, although it was some years after that
my wish was accomplished , but it was so nevertheless 1 I
was in Augsburg.



26 A POET'S BAZA AX.



MUNICH.

THE ancient portion of the city of Munich appears to me
like an ancient rose-tree, from which new branches shoot
out every year ; but every branch is a street, every leaf is a
palace, a church, or a monument ; and everything appears so
new, so fresh, for it has but this moment unfolded itself.

Under the Alps, where the hop-vines creep over the high
plains, lies the Athens of Germany. It is cheap to live
here ; many treasures of art are to be seen, and I have here
found many amiable persons who are now dear to me ; but yet
I would not live here, for the cold is more severe than in Den-
mark. The cold from the Alps sweeps with an icy chill over
the highlands of Bavaria, and where the Alps themselves
beckon us, like the Venus Mountain, as it sings, " Come
hither ! come hither ! " Behind these bold, dark-blue moun-
tains lies Italy.

Every city, from Rome the eternal to our own silent Sorb,
has its own peculiar character with which one can be intimate,
even attach one's self to ; but Munich has something of all
places : we know not if we are in the south or the north. I
at least felt a disquiet here, a desire to leave it again.

Should any one fancy that my description of Munich con-
tains crude and contradictory images, then I have given the
most just picture according to the impression that the town
has made on me. Everything here appeared to me to be a
contradiction. Here were Catholicism and Protestantism.
Grecian art and Bavarian ale. Unity I have not found here :
every handsome detail appears to have been taken from its
original home and placed in and about old Munich, which is
a town like a hundred others in Germany. The Post-office,
with its red painted walls and hovering figures, is taken from
Pompeii ; the new Palace is a copy of the Duke of Tuscany's
palace in Florence, each stone is like that of the other.
The Au Church with its stained glass windows, its colossal
lace-like tower, in which every thread is a huge block of stone,



MUNICH. 3.7

reminds us of St. Stephen's Church in Vienna ; whilst the
court chapel, with its mosaic pictures on a gilt ground, wafts
us to Italy. I found but one part in Munich that can be called
great and characteristic, and that is Ludwig Street. The
buildings here in different styles of architecture blend together
in a unity, as the most different flowers form a beautiful gar-
land. The Gothic-built University, the Italian palaces, even
the garden close by, with its painted piazzas, supply a perfect
whole. I think that if one drove through this street, and from
thence to Schwanthaler's and Kaulbach's ateliers, one would
receive the best picture of what Munich is intended to be ;
but if one will see it as it really is, one must also go into the
" Bockkeller," where the thriving citizens are sitting with their
tankards, and eating radishes and bread, whilst the youths
dance to the violin : one must go through the long streets
which are building, or, more properly speaking, along the
high-road, where they are planting houses.

Most of the young artists who travel southward make a
long stay in Munich, and afterward speak of their sojourn
there with much enthusiasm.

But that they remain here so long, may be attributed to the
cheapness of the living ; and if they come direct from the
North, Munich is the first town where there is much to be
seen. Most true artists are natural and amiable ; a mutual
love for their art binds them together, and in excellent Bava-
rian ale, which is not dear, they drink to that good fellowship
which in remembrance casts a lustre on that city, and forms
the background of many a dear reminiscence.

King Ludwig of Bavaria's love of art has called forth all
that we term beautiful in Munich ; under him talent has found
encouragement to unfold its wings. King Ludwig is a poet,
but he works not alone with pen and ink, for things of magni-
tude he executes in marble and colors. His " Valhalla " is a
work of marble erected by the Danube, where it visits old Re-
gensburg. I have seen, in Schwanthaler's atelier, the mighty
figures intended to ornament the facade toward the Danube,
and which, when placed in juxtaposition, represent the battle
of Hermanus. Another composition of the same kind, and
great in idea and expression, is the Main and Danube Canal,



28 A POET'S BAZAAR.

whereby the German Ocean is united with the Black Sea. I
saw also in Schwanthaler's atelier, the vignette title to this
work if I may presume so to call the monument which
represents the river-nymph Danube and the river-god Main.

Konigsbau, which, as I before said, is in its exterior a copy
of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, has in the interior, if we
except those rooms that are decorated in the Pompeiian
style, and the magnificent Knights' saloon, with the gilded
Electors, an odor of Germanism, which improves the fancy
and elevates the thought. The walls shine with pictures of
what Germany's bards have sung, and the people have felt
and understood; the " Nibelungenlied " reveals itself here in
bold outline ; the Diver ventures into the boiling deep ; Leo-
nora rides in the moonlight with the dead, and the Elf-king
lures the child as it rides through the wood with its father.

A handsome spiral staircase leads to the flat roof of the
palace, from whence we see the whole Isar plain and the
Alps, which, with me at least, always awaken disquiet and
a desire to travel : I thought I could trace my feelings in
everything beneath me. The post-horn sounded, the dili-
gence rolled away. I saw the smoke from the arrowy loco-
motive, as it drew the train of carriages on the railway ; and
down in the palace garden, where the river Isar branches
off in different directions, the water rushed with a rapidity
I have never seen equaled in any garden : " Away, away ! "
was its cry.

Even the streets and buildings in this new city will not,
as yet, attach themselves to each other ; the Pinakothek, with
its elevated windows in the roof, has, from the spot on which
I am standing, the appearance of a large hot-house or con-
servatory, and such it is ; there, as in the Glyptothek, we
wander amongst the most beautiful productions of art, brought
together from the four corners of the world. In the Pina-
kothek are all the varieties of glowing plants, and the saloons
are equally as gorgeous as the flowers ; in the Glyptothek
stand the immortal figures by Scopas, Thorwaldsen, and Ca-
nova, and the walls are resplendent with colors that will
tell posterity of Cornelius, Zimmerman, and Schlolthauer.

Near to Konigsbau is the theatre ; it is even joined to it



MUNICH. 29

by a small building. It is built on a very extended scale;
the machinery is admirable, and the decorations are splendid.
But a bad custom exists here, that of destroying all the illusion
by calling the actors forward. I never saw displayed a more
flagrant instance of bad taste, than one evening during the
performance of the opera of " Guido and Ginevra ; or, the
Plague in Florence." In the fourth act of the piece the scene
is divided in two parts : the lower part represents a vault,
wherein Ginevra lies in her coffin, having, as is supposed,
died of the plague ; the upper part of the scene represents
the church, where they are singing masses over her tomb for
the repose of her soul. The mourners depart, the church is
dark and empty ; it is late in the night : Ginevra's trance is
ended, she awakes and soon comprehends her dreadful sit-
uation she is buried alive. The music in this scene is
highly expressive and effective ; with the greatest effort she
drags herself up the stairs which lead to the church ; but the
trap-door is fastened, she has not strength to raise it, and
despairs. At that moment a crowd of sacrilegious robbers
enter, for the plague rages in that large city, and all law, all
affection and piety are annihilated ; they even plunder the dead.
They force their way into Ginevra's tomb, but are seized
with horror on beholding the supposed corpse standing in
the midst of them ; they kneel, and she once more attempts
to ascend the stairs, and escape through the trap-door which
the robbers had opened. She succeeds ; she stands in the
church, and exclaims : " I am saved ! " and then leaves the
stage.

The lady performed very naturally, sang prettily, and the
music is, as I have said, in the highest degree expressive ;
but now the spectators began to shout and call her forward.
Ginevra appeared again, and in order to express her thanks
properly, she ran with marvelous ease through the church,
down the stairs into the vault, toward the lamps, made her
x>urtsey with the happiest face imaginable, and then hopped
iway back the same way she came, and where a minute
efor we saw her, as if half dead, dragging herself forward.
For me, at least, the whole effect of that beautiful scene was
from that moment destroyed. As to the rest, the plays
performed here are good and interesting.



3O A POET'S BAZAAR.

But I will now turn to the glorification of art in the cap-
ital of Bavaria, and the names of Cornelius and Kaulbach
stand preeminent. I will first speak of the younger of the two,
Kaulbach. Every one who has lately been in Berlin, assuredly
knows his famous painting, " Die Hunnenschlacht" I have
heard several artists, though it is true they were persons who,
according to my opinion, have not produced anything great,
judge him very harshly, and describe him as proud and re-
pulsive ; I nevertheless determined to pay a visit to his
atelier. I wished to see the man and his latest work, " The
Destruction of Jerusalem," of which every one spoke differ-
ently. Without any sort of letter of introduction, I set out for
his atelier, which is situated in a remote part of the town near
the river Isar. Passing over a little meadow inclosed with
palings, I entered the foremost atelier. The first object that
revealed itself to me was a living and very original picture,
such as I had never before seen : a young girl, a model, lay
in a sleeping position ; a number of young artists stood around
her, one occupied with drawing, another playing the guitar
and singing " Ora pro nobis," whilst a third had opened a
bottle of champagne just as I entered.

I asked for Kaulbach, and they showed me into a larger
room close by, where the artist received me. Kaulbach is
a young man, with an ingenuous face ; he is pale, and his
features indicate suffering j but there lies a soul in those
proud eyes, a cordiality, like that with which he received me,
when I told him I was a stranger who had no one to introduce
me to him, and therefore was obliged to present myself, and
that I could not leave Munich without having seen his works.
He asked my name, and when I told him, I was no longer a
stranger; he shook my hand, bade me welcome, and a few
minutes afterward we were like old friends. How much envy
and folly was there in the judgment I had heard pronounced
against this great artist ! He led me toward the cartoon
for his last great picture, which is already renowned, " The
Destruction of Jerusalem." This was the first time during
my journey, the first time during my stay in Munich that I
felt glad, charmed, and filled with great and powerful thoughts,
and it was this picture that had cast such a ray of sunlight



MUNICH. 3 1

over my mind ! All that I had lately seen and found beautiful
in the ateliers of other young artists, now appeared to me as
sketches in comparison with this work. My feeling was akin
to that a young man of susceptible imagination must expe-
rience, when having read some trifling plays, poems, or every-
day novels, he turns to the perusal of Dante's " Divina Corn-
media," or Goethe's " Faust." There is something so great in
these, that other productions, however finished they may be of
their kind, under such circumstances would appear so inferior,
that they would suddenly lose all the effect they in the first
instance created. And yet it was only in the cartoon, and
in miniature, that I saw this work of Kaulbach, which will
assuredly forthwith take its place in the works of art a
place such as the world has long ago consented to concede
to Michael Angelo's " Day of Judgment."

The destruction of Jerusalem is dealt with in this picture
as an epoch in the history of the world, as a circumstance of
more than a general historic character. Thus Kaulbach has
comprehended it and represented it, for he has gathered his
materials from the prophets and Josephus.

At the top of the picture we see, in the clouds, the figures
of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, surrounded by a
glory ; they prophesy the fall of Jerusalem, and show the peo-
ple what is written in the Scriptures ; under the prophets are
seen soaring the seven chastising angels, as executors of God's
anger. We see the Jewish people's misery : the temple is in
flames ; the city is taken ; the Romans plant their eagles
around the holy altar, whilst Titus with the lictors enter over
the fallen walls. In the foreground of the picture is seen the
high-priest of the temple, who kills himself and his family on
the fall of the sanctuary ; at his feet are the Levites, sitting
and lying, with their harps the same that sounded by the
waters of Babylon when the thought of Zion still lived ; but
they are now silent, for all is lost.

To the right of the picture, a Christian family is leaving the
city accompanied by two angels ; the waving palm-branches
signify martyrdom ; to the left is seen the Wandering Jew,
chased out of the city by three demons ; he is the representa-
tive of the present Judaism a people without home.



32 A POET'S BAZAAR.

It is long since that a picture has made me thrill, and filled
me with such thoughts as this picture gave me. The art-
ist went through every particular ; showed me the detached
studies : each in itself was a beautifully executed picture.
Afterward I saw the sketch of his famed " Hunnenschlacht ; "
how these giant spirits soar! how nobly Attila rises, borne
on shields through the air ! I saw the drawings for Goethe's
" Faust," and left the friendly artist with a high admiration of
his talents, and a warm regard for his social qualities.

One of the greatest works that Munich may be proud of
from the hand of Cornelius, is certainly his " Day of Judg-
ment," which is reposited in Ludwig's church. Six years ago
I saw the cartoon to this picture in Rome, where I made the
acquaintance of this great artist. It was two evenings before
my departure for Naples that I was in the hostelry by the
Piazza Barberini, and there met, amongst the Danes who
were assembled, a German whom I had not seen before. He
had piercing, intelligent eyes, was very eloquent, and ertered
into conversation with me about the newest German literature.
We talked long together, and when he rose to depart, two of
my countrymen asked him if they might visit his atelier next
day, and see the cartoon for his latest work.

" I do not much like it to be seen by many," answered he ;
" but you may come, on condition that you bring this gentle-
man with you as a card of admission," and he pointed to me.

No one had told me who it was I had been conversing
with ; I only heard that he was a painter, and of painters
there are plenty in Rome. I therefore thanked the gentle-
man for his invitation, but said that I regretted I could not
accept it, as I intended to leave Rome the following day, and
being scant of time, I wished once more to visit the Borghese
gallery.

" You will come ! " said he with a smile, as he laid his hand
on my shoulder, and went hastily away.

He was scarcely out of the door, before some of my coun-
trymen began to load me with abuse for what they called my
unheard of incivility in refusing an invitation from Corne-
lius ; I must have seen who he was in his eyes, and in bis
whole person, said they !



MUNICH. 23

Now, I had not these qualities of discernment. However,
I went with the others to visit him next day. He received
me with a smile, and added : " Did I not say you would
come ! " ' He then showed us the cartoon to that now famous
painting, " The Day of Judgment." Our personal acquaint-
ance was but transient ; it was in Munich first that I had occa-
sion to value the worthy man, and to meet with friendship and
cordiality from the great artist.

Of small events, of which every man has always some to
record if he stay in a strange town for a few weeks, I will
mention one : on walking through the streets of Munich, a
book-seller's shop attracted me, where I saw amongst the books
exhibited in the window a German translation of my novel
" The Improvisatore," included in " Miniaturbibliothek der
auslandischen Classiker." I walked in, and asked for the
book ; a young man delivered me a little volume which com-
prised the first part.

" But I wish to have the whole novel ! " said I.

" That is the whole ! " he replied ; " there are no more parts.
I have read it myself, sir ! "

" Do you not find, then," I inquired, " that it ends rather
abruptly ; that we do not come to any conclusion ? "

" O yes ! " said he, " but it is in that as in the French nov-
els ! The author points out a conclusion, and leaves it to the
reader to finish the picture for himself."

" It is not the case here," I exclaimed ; " this is only the
first part of the work that you have given me ! "

" I tell you," said he, half angrily, " I have read it ! "

" But I have written it ! " I replied.

The man looked at me from top to toe ; he did not conira
dict me, but I could see in his face that he did not beliere
me.

On one of the last evenings of my stay here, I knew that
at home in Denmark, in that house where I am regarded as a
son and brother, there was a marriage feast. It was late as I
proceeded along the banks of the river Isar ; on the other side



Online LibraryH. C. (Hans Christian) AndersenA poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient → online text (page 3 of 31)