Thomas Nast & Theodor Kaufmann: Higher Forms of Hieroglyph

I Thomas Nast

The pictorial journalism of Thomas Nast marked the peak of graphic art as far as its  influence and popularity in the 19th century is concerned. No artist was ever more successful in regard to the intensity, scope and lastingness of his political impact than this North American draughtsman – not Dürer, not Rubens, and also not Hogarth, Gillray or Daumier. He had begun his career at the early age of sixteen as a reportage draughtsman, or special artist, with Leslie’s Weekly, the leading American illustrated magazine at the time, and became internationally renowned in this field within just a few years.1 His reports on the first boxing world championship, held in early 1860 in Hampshire, and the Italian struggle for unification, which he had witnessed that same year, were published worldwide. In 1862 he started working for the competing illustrated magazine Harper’s Weekly, which thanks to its new employee quickly succeeded in assuming the top notch of American periodicals. The resounding success largely owed to the picture campaigns with which the magazine sided with the Union during the Civil War. In the beginning, Nast worked as a graphic war correspondent, but soon switched to the genre of emblematic historical art with two-page picture commentaries, following the allegorical patterns of late-Baroque picture journalism. He was so successful with these continuously published patriotic graphics that the often spread statement of Abraham Lincoln, that Nast “has been [the Union’s] best recruiting sergeant” appears plausible.2 No matter how great one assesses his part in the outcome of the Civil War, it remains indisputable that the presence of his graphic polemics was enormous and increased considerably in the influential post-war period.

“Nast as Garibaldian, July 1860” (in: Bigelow Paine, 1904)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly # 199, 1863 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Civil War Sketch, 1863 (in: Bigelow Paine, 1904)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, December 12, 1864 (MePri-Coll.)

At the end of the Civil War, Nast again switched genres – from propagandistic historical depictions to pointed political cartooning. He thus drowned the voices of all other political commentators, even those in his own editorial staff. In the 1870s, at the peak of his career, Harper’s Weekly was predominantly perceived as Thomas Nast’s mouthpiece. The 14-page magazine usually featured a Nast cartoon on the cover, along with a two-page picture commentary and an editorial caricature on the last page, also by Nast. This massive journalistic presence enabled him to sponsor politicians. The Republican successors of Lincoln in the presidential chair owed a good deal of their electoral success to his graphic campaigns, above all the former Civil War general Ulysses Grant, a close friend of Nast. No wonder that he himself came to realize that the power he had was “terrible”.3

Thomas Nast, Ulysses Grant leading the party-horses (pencil on paper, 24 x 23 cm) (MePri-Coll.)

His ink could praise party favourites to the political Olympus, and it could smash opponents to the ground in lengthy campaigns. “I try to hit the enemy between the eyes and knock him down,” he admitted in 1872 at the height of his career.4 How effectively the stocky cartoon champion could hit is something that a whole array of Democratic politicians experienced themselves. His gruelling attacks were probably not entirely wrongly made responsible for the surprising death of Horace Greeley, a sensitive competitor of Grant for the presidency. It was mainly thanks to Nast’s incessant graphic preying that the corrupt New York state senator William Tweed, chief of the almighty party machine Tammany Hall, was imprisoned in 1873.5

Thomas Nast, Let Us Prey, Harper´s Weekly, September 23, 1871 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, November 25, 1871 (MePri-Coll.)

The Arrest of Mr. W.M. Tweed, in: The Graphic, London, 1876 Vol.II (MePri-Coll.)

The fact that Tweed, whose striking physiognomy was known mainly because of Nast’s caricatures, could be identified and arrested after an attempted flight to Cuba due to a Nast cover, lent the cartoonist’s triumph gigantic dimensions. Second only to Philipon’s pear campaign, the Tweed campaign was the most successful endeavour in the history of caricature.6 The popularity of diminutive Nast, who had brought the Goliath of a corrupt party machine to its knees, was soon to turn into hard cash. What followed was a performance tour of large American concert halls in 1873, during which he did drawings in sold-out venues. Like no other press graphic artist before, he succeeded in staging and establishing himself as a star.7 His reputation and his pictorial inventiveness were also what triggered the tradition of visually powerful, American cartooning, which soon led to the comic strip. The appearance of the first popular, American satire magazine Puck, founded by the Austrian draughtsman Joseph Keppler in 1871, and the subsequent competitor, Judge Magazine, were largely inspired by Nast’s cartooning.

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, December 2, 1876 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, May 5, 1877 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, November 30, 1878 (MePri-Coll.)

Although he later became increasingly entangled in dubious speculation deals and partisanship, which in the end led to his financial ruin, he was remembered above all as the dauntless fighter against the excesses of plutocracy, against corruption, mismanagement, cartelization, and environmental pollution. As time passed, the ambivalences of his political commitment were hardly perceived anymore. This was the reason why the declared communist-phobic, who for decades had conducted propaganda against American unionism, in the early 20th century could become the hero of a generation of American, socialist graphic artists around the magazines The Masses and The Liberator, including Art Young, Reginald Marsh, Robert Minor, and Oscar Cesare. With his art, Nast had succeeded in teaching the powerful fear – that was the decisive point. He fell into oblivion only after the emancipative impulse of American art was almost entirely suffocated in the early phase of the Cold War. However, already in the mid-1950s there were first signs of a Nast renaissance with the establishment of Harvey Kurzman’s Mad magazine. The influence of his vitriolic ink once more fully emerged in the late 1960s with the wave of U-Comix. The subversive graphics of a Robert Crumb or Gilbert Shelton stand with both feet on the shoulders of nasty Nast.8

Thomas Nast, 1872  – Robert Crumb, 2003

How can this exceptional phenomenon Nast be explained? In terms of style, his art was tied into the international caricature movement of the times. According to his biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, young Nast was foremost influenced by the “three great English Johns”, the illustrators of Punch magazine, John Leech, John Gilbert and John Tenniel – whereby the latter certainly played an especially important role.9 However, as far as the vehemence of his campaigns, the cryptic symbolism and the tendency towards self-staging are concerned, he was closer to the younger French school of caricature, to draughtsmen such as André Gill and Alfred Le Petite, with whom he constantly stood in productive competition. His big role model was, as he himself declared, Gustave Doré. According to Art Young, Nast’s living-room was full of Doré graphics.10 Many of the dramatic effects with which the Alsatian illustrator had caused a stir can be found in his graphics, and there were also biographical parallels. Both had been engaged early as artistic prodigies for press graphic, where they proved themselves in a relatively broad range of genres: in the field of reportage drawing, historical pictures, caricature, and illustration. Moreover, both came from the same region. Nast was born in French-influenced Southern Palatinate, in the garrison town of Landau, and spent his early childhood there. Doré was from the Alsatian metropolis of Strasbourg, just eighty kilometres away.11 In regard to their image worlds, both remained attached to the pictorial tradition of this German-French culture area with its tendency towards the fantastic, the grotesque and picturesque; Doré in numerous fairy-tale-like illustration works, Nast particularly in his children’s books and Christmas pictures, with which he had made his audience happy each year during the period of the Civil War.12

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, December 30, 1865 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, April 15, 1876 (MePri-Coll.)

But references to the influence of neither the English nor the French press graphic can explain the stylistic succinctness of Nast’s graphics. What also remains open is the question of where the obstinacy with which he, from the very beginning, spurred on political developments came from. The French and English caricaturists mainly appeared as mouthpieces of the editors’ political guidelines, while Nast established himself quite early as an autonomous voice that often opposed, not seldom backed by the publisher, the editorial opinion. Ever since he participated in Garibaldi’s “Expedition of the Thousand” as a young pictorial reporter, he had placed his art at the service of asserting secular, republican ideals with astounding resolution. Nast’s oeuvre is characterised by the conviction of an upward trend of democratic conditions and a continuing assertion of fundamental moral values. He saw this progress guaranteed by the exemplary activities of political luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses Grant. This teleological conception of history lent his work extraordinary coherence, something which is actually foreign to the genre of press graphic. Along with the continuity of his production, this dense ideological and iconographic unity of his work was the main pillar of his success. Only in this manner was it possible to succeed in exerting such varied and shaping influence on forging the identity of American post-war society.13

II Theodor Kaufmann

In order to understand the phenomenon of Thomas Nast, it is important to consider that he was socialised in the heated climate of radical-democratic dissidence. He had to flee with his mother from Palatine Landau prior to the revolutionary events of 1846; his father was later to follow. Since the times of the Mainz Republic and the Hambacher Fest, Palatinate had been the centre of German liberation movements. Shaped by the extreme experiences of the religious wars and the libertarian influence of years of French occupation, a very specific attitude of republican defiance had evolved here in resistance to Bavarian and Prussian paternalism. However, what appears to be much more decisive than this local cast of mind is the fact that Nast’s first art teacher, Theodor Kaufmann, was the most ambitious pictorial artist in conceptual terms of the German Vormärz. In his writings, Kaufmann had fervently called for a political-philosophical form of art, one that no longer grasps itself as a sensorial-aesthetic, and in the end reactionary, construction but that instead functions as an emancipative instrument raising awareness by pushing through democratic processes.

At the age of fourteen, Nast had experienced his basic artistic training in Kaufmann’s studio in New York. Due to his revolutionary activities, among others, during the barricade fighting in Dresden, Kaufmann had been on the wanted list in most countries of the German Confederation.14 Although he, as an acquaintance of Richard Wagner, was able to complete the first part of a picture cycle and initiate three important publications in Düsseldorf, he was finally forced to flee to America in 1851. Contact to the Nast family was most likely established by his wife, the charismatic Palatine revolutionary and barricade fighter Mathilde Hitzfeld, whom he had met in emigration and married in 1853.

Thomas Nast, Emancipation, Harper’s Weekly, January 24, 1863 (MePri-Coll.)

Theodor Kaufmann, Emancipation or On to Liberty, 1867 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

In his fundamental art-historical study, “Thomas Nast and French Art”,15 Albert Boime pointed out for the first time Kaufmann’s great significance for the artistic development of his student. He described him as an “historical painter with abstruse philosophical ideas”, who in his grandiose and ultimately failed projects combined, similar to his French colleague, the republican historical painter Paul Chenavard, real and allegorical personifications.16 Boime made Kaufmann responsible above all for Nast’s allegorical understanding of images and his lifelong ambition to conceive monumental, historical picture cycles. Nast’s most expansive painting cycle was the Grand Caricaturama, a series consisting of thirty-three large pictorial representations, in which on the stages of New York and Boston in 1867 and 1868 he paraded in caricatural distortion events of the Civil War and the early post-war era, accompanied by music and read commentaries.17

However, Nast was not able to see the original large painting cycle of his teacher Kaufmann, in which the latter had depicted the development of secularism and freedom of religion, first in eight, then in seventeen pictorial representations, because shortly before he opened his painting school in New York, all his works fell victim to a devastating fire in his studio. What remained were his theoretical writings and a series of painting reproductions that revealed his extraordinary concept of an artwork. These texts were written in a clear diction and the ideas they expressed were anything but abstruse. Instead, they dealt in a highly consistent manner with applying Left Hegelian thought to the field of fine art. In his two-volume religion-critical treatise “Der Teufel und die Geschichte” he had already castigated contemporary historical painting as an epitome of irrationality, whose concept of beauty simply served to cover up its reactionary ideas. Now, in his essay “Kunst und Ästhetik”, which was preceded by the reproductions of the first part of his picture cycle, he formulated the programme of a progressive-emancipative art that decidedly grasped itself as a medium to express ideas, comparable with Byzantine and Pre-Raphaelite art that had been a “servant of thought”, “nothing (more) than a higher form of hieroglyph.”18 Kaufmann did not really succeed in realizing the underlying ideal of merging image and language via a renewal of historical painting, but his student did in the pictographic field of political caricature.

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, January 27, 1877 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, March 27, 1886 (MePri-Coll.)

Kaufmann’s polemics were mainly directed against the Catholic programme of the Nazarene school. He had completed years of philosophical studies in Munich while simultaneously studying at the art academy under the old Nazarene Peter Cornelius. With his picture cycle ambitiously entitled Die Entwickelung der Gottesidee [The Development of the Idea of God], he got involved in a culture struggle which Carl Friedrich Lessing had started in contemporary historical painting in the mid-1830s with his picture series on the reformation movement of the Hussites. For Kaufmann, the Reformation merely marked one phase in an overarching development based on the successive abstraction and psychologization of the concept of God. Like his Dresdener comrade-in-arms, Richard Wagner, he had intensively studied the religion-critical writings of the Left Hegelian Ludwig Feuerbach; in addition, evidence of dealing with the writings of David Friedrich Strauß can also be found in his works. They mark the starting point of his attempt to convert Lessing’s palace revolution at the art academy in Düsseldorf into a decidedly political programme, in which historical painting is a driving ideological force in progressing secularisation, a process that Kaufmann called a “life-or-death struggle”. However, Kaufmann’s historical cycle only had a modest impact. Beside a presentation at the Dresden art exhibition in the year of the revolution, which Richard Wagner gives an account of, and a studio presentation in New York, no further exhibitions are known.19 Hence, dissemination was predominantly limited to the publication of the commented reproduction etchings in Germany as well as a commented sixteen-page catalogue of the expanded version in America.20 The most effective propaganda pictures against an imminent re-Catholicization were created by Kaufmann’s student, Thomas Nast. Quite in accordance with his teacher, he had placed the demand for laicism at the top of his political agenda.

Thomas Nast, River Ganges (The Threat by the Roman Catholic Church), Harper’s Weekly, May 8, 1875 (MePri-Coll.)

However, Kaufmann’s art not only influenced the work of his student in conceptual and ideological terms, it also had stylistic consequences. In his graphics and paintings, Kaufmann was less concerned with developing a so-called style of his own than with undermining picture patterns associated with political reaction through forms of appropriation and making them programmatic. He combined his academic training with a strategy of travesty and détournement, as was common in radical journalism and especially in political caricature since Gillray. In the eight copper etchings of the Entwickelung der Gottesidee, Kaufmann developed the graphic patterns of the Cornelius school and twisted them to take on a contrary aesthetic programme. Nast’s idiosyncrasy of combining caricatural volumes and painterly effects with an almost classicist formal stringency, which set him off in a significant way from the English and French schools of caricature, goes back to the old German style of the Nazarene graphics.

Theodor Kaufmann, Die Entwickelung der Gottesidee. Düsseldorf 1850 (MePri-Coll.)

Theodor Kaufmann,  Ursprung der des Gottesbewußtseins im Menschen – The Origin of the Knowledge of the Godhead in Man, Pl. 1 in:  Die Entwickelung der Gottesidee. Düsseldorf 1850 (MePri-Coll.)

Theodor Kaufmann, Das Ketzergericht – The Judgement of Heretics, Pl. 6 in: Die Entwickelung der Gottesidee. Düsseldorf 1850 (MePri-Coll.)

Theodor Kaufmann, Die Göttin der Vernunft – The Goddess of Reason, Pl. 8 in: Die Entwickelung der Gottesidee. Düsseldorf 1850 (MePri-Coll.)

However, the ideological gap between Peter Cornelius and his student should not hide the fact that Kaufmann’s republican hieroglyphics were actually a continuation of Nazarene “thought-art” with shifted connotations.21 Cornelius’ oeuvre was characterized by an intellectuality which his contemporary critics branded as scholastic. In his large fresco cycles in Munich and Berlin, one can find traces of his dealing with the philosophy of Schelling and the historical-theological Tübinger school influenced by Hegel and Strauss.22 We also know from Paul Chenavard that there were personal ties between the old Nazarene and Hegel.23 If one additionally takes into account that the Nazarene brotherhood was initially a decidedly anti-academic movement closely associated with the classicism of the revolutionary period, then Kaufmann no longer appears as an apostate, but instead as an innovator of early progressive Nazarenism, who filled the movement’s abstract-philosophical format with the then more relevant content of Left Hegelian philosophy of history.24

Yet it is more than questionable whether his American student was able to follow him in these conceptual turns. His age alone and his poor school education would have prevented Nast from dealing with the idealistic philosophy behind Kaufmann’s art. But via the model of Kaufmann’s commented graphics, the progressive historico-philosophical impulse could easily be conveyed in a sketchy way to the art of his student.

The same Düsseldorf publishing house of Johann Heinrich Schulz, who had published Kaufmann’s Entwickelung der Gottesidee, a short while later issued a further portfolio of graphics titled Trost für 1849.25 Since there was no indication of the author, researchers have until now not attributed it to Kaufmann, even though he is explicitly named as the author in a publisher’s announcement on the back of the subsequent publication. Here, too, Kaufmann opposed a pivotal work of reactionary picture journalism, for according to the publisher’s announcement, Trost für 1849 was to present an “energetic adversary to the stance that the danse macabre of Rethel represented.” The four wood engravings that Carl Weber had made after Kaufmann’s drafts countered Alfred Rethel’s demonization of the revolutionary events in his popular xylographic sequence with a glorification of killed freedom fighters. While the late-Nazarene Rethel had depicted the figure of the revolutionary in the figure of the death man as morbidity personified, Kaufmann reversed this topos to a symbol of life by placing the executed revolutionaries of 184826 in a line of hagiographic martyr depictions.

Anon. (Theodor Kaufmann), Trost für 1849. Mit vier Holzschnitten. Düsseldorf 1849 (Pl. 4)

The Rethel sequence, Auch ein Todtentanz, which Kaufmann had attacked here, was also met with intensive response in Thomas Nast’s work, albeit, in a way totally different than his former teacher would have approved of. Here, too, it was the old German mannerism that was brought to bear in Nast’s graphics. Alfred Rethel’s drawings were engraved by the Dresdener August Gaber, who was also responsible for realising the reactionary edification illustrations of Ludwig Richter. The counter-revolutionary Rethelian dance macabre was also included in motifs of Nast’s work, though. While the early Nast had expressed the radical-democratic ideals of the era of ’48 with great vehemence in his graphics, one can observe an increasing drift to statesmanlike conservatism in his picture campaigns after the end of the Civil War. Progressive politicians such as Charles Sumner, Carl Schurz or Horace Greeley were mercilessly pilloried by his wicked pen as soon as they opposed the brazen government of his idol Ulysses Grant.27 He demonized women’s liberation attempts and projected himself in his illustrations of an ideal family world more and more as America’s Ludwig Richter. Since the events of the Parisian Commune, he employed Alfred Rethel’s method of denouncing the revolutionary as the ominous Grim Reaper pitted against all efforts to assert workers’ rights. These picture campaigns played no small role in establishing North America’s phobia against communists.


Alfred Rethel, Auch ein Todtentanz, 1849 (pl. 4) (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, February 7, 1874 (MePri-Coll.)

Thomas Nast, The Internationalists are to make the world all one millennium: Chaos, Harper’s Weekly, June 1, 1878 (MePri-Coll.)

The basic convictions of Nast and Kaufmann evidently diverged greatly over time. The fact that there is no evidence of contact between the awkward guerrilla fighter of ’48 and his career-hungry student after the period of training can be judged as a sign of this increasing ideological gap. In artistic terms, their paths crossed for the last time in the late 1860s, when Nast took up the motif of one of Kaufmann’s best-known paintings from his American period in a cartoon. Westward the Star of Empire was made in 1867 and depicts a group of North American natives resisting the destruction of their living environment by the ruthless expansion of the settlers – they are shown carrying out an act of sabotage on the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. The intention of this picture has often been misunderstood as an illustration of wild west romanticism à la Karl May.28 But Kaufmann’s concern with the work, which had been exhibited in Düsseldorf and Vienna in 1868, was nothing less than a critical revaluation of the wild west formula as it had been established in contemporary painting by the German-American Charles Wimar. While Wimar always argued from the perspective of the settlers, whose existence was threatened by the martial wildness of the indigenous people, Kaufmann reversed the perspective. From an indigenous point of view, it is the threat through the civilizational monster in the shape of a machine that legitimises an act of rebellious Luddism. Wendell Philipps, one of the few politicians who resolutely supported the rights of the natives, argued quite similarly. When in 1869 he polemicized against the opening of the Pacific line by associating it with the expectation of increasing indigenous attacks, he was caricatured by Nast as an annoying obstacle that in a suicidal manner opposed civilizational progress on the tracks of the Union Pacific.29

Theodor Kaufmann, Westward the Star of Empire, 1867 (University of Missouri – St. Louis)

Thomas Nast, “All hail and farewell to the Pacific Railroad.” (Wendell Phillips), Harper’s Weekly, July 10, 1869 (MePri-Coll.)

Theodor Kaufmann died in New York in 1896, completely impoverished, it is said. In 1902, Thomas Nast, after his popularity had declined and he had repeatedly made losses with adventurous investments, was forced to assume the post of consulate-general in Ecuador, which his fan Theodore Roosevelt had offered him as bread of charity, so to speak. Just a few months after he took on the post, he died there during a yellow fever epidemic.

(Translation: Karl Hoffmann)

The publication of the series Graphism is funded with means from the Stiftung Kunstfonds.



1 Literature: Albert Bigelow Paine: Thomas Nast, his Period and his Pictures. New York, 1904 / Morton Keller: The Art and Politics of Thomas Nast, Oxford 1968 / Thomas Nast St. Hill: Thomas Nast. Cartoons and Illustrations. New York 1974

2 “Thomas Nast has been our best recruiting sergeant. His emblematic cartoons have never failed to arouse enthusiasm and patriotism.” (Abraham Lincoln), cited in Morton Keller, p. 13

3 “The power I have is terrible”, 1876 > Keller p. 76

4 > Keller p. 77

5 Literature: John Adler, Draper Hill: Doomed by Cartoon. How Cartoonist Thomas Nast and the New York Times brought down Boss Tweed and His Ring of Thieves. New York 2008

6  In the Tweed graphics, Nast indeed fell back on topoi of Charles Philipon’s caricature campaign against King Louis Philippe in a targeted way.

7 In this regard there was also competition to André Gill.

8 Since his schooldays, Crumb had been influenced by Nast’s significant style of drawing. In an interview with Ted Widmer, he calls Nast “the greatest of the cross-hatchers.” (Robert Crumb, The Art of Comics No.1, in: The Paris Review, no. 193 > https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6017/the-art-of-comics-no-1-r-crumb )

9 It was especially from Tenniel’s cartoons on the American Civil War from which Nast subsequently profited many times, among other things, in regard to his tendency towards Shakespeare references. > https://arthist.umn.edu/aict/Tennielweb/intro.html

10 Art Young visited his great role model in 1897. > Art Young: His Life and Times, New York 1939. p. 134

11 Literature: Hans Heß: Landau zur Zeit des Thomas Nast. In: Thomas Nast. Ein Landauer, der amerikanische Geschichte zeichnete und machte. Landau 1977, p. 20 ff.

12 The American conception of Santa Claus does not go back to Coca Cola campaigns, as is known, but had been implemented in the cultural memory by Nast in allusion to the Palatine Belzenickel. > Karl Scherer: Thomas Nast – Ein Pfälzer in Amerika. In: Thomas Nast. Ein Landauer, der amerikanische Geschichte zeichnete und machte. Landau 1977, p. 82 ff.

13 Nast had decisively contributed to shaping the symbolic figure of Uncle Sam, among others. He is also responsible for the party symbols of the North American Republican and Democratic Parties and introduced the symbol of the dollar as a picture element into graphic art, for example.

14 All biographical information is taken from the excellently researched publication: Horst Hoffmann: Theodor Kaufmann (1814-1896). Freiheitskämpfer und Historienmaler aus Uelzen. Uelzen 2001

15 Albert Boime: Thomas Nast and French Art, in American Art Journal, Vol.IV, No. 1, Spring 1972. p. 43 – 65

16 Although Albert Boime does not go into detail about the views of Theodor Kaufmann, he mentions another, slightly older artist, Paul Chenavard, whose art is based on Hegel’s philosophy of history. While the accusation of abstruseness in regard to the theosophical-mystical orientation of Chenavard’s oeuvre is indeed understandable, this in no way applies to the clearly system-critical art of Kaufmann.

17 Literature: Lloyd Goodrich ed.: Five Paintings from Thomas Nast´s Grand Caricaturama. New York 1970

18 Theodor Kaufmann: Die Entwickelung der Gottesidee. Mit einem Vorwort: Die Kunst und die Ästhetik. Mit acht nach großen Cartons ausgeführten Kupferstichen. Düsseldorf 1850, p. 1

19 Richard Wagner gave an account of how he saw “a series of cartoons that depicted the ‘history of spirit’. (…) In front of one of these cartoons, which displayed the torture of an heretic at the Spanish inquisition court, I observed the King of Saxony, who was roaming through the exhibition, shaking his head disapprovingly and turning away from this abstruse object.” (Richard Wagner, Mein Leben, München 1911, cited in: Horst Hoffmann p. 19)

20 “Explanations of Theo. Kaufmann´s Great Pictures, illustrating the Development of Religious Liberty.” New York 1853, mentioned in: Horst Hoffmann, p. 34

21 On the concept of “thought-art“ > Karl Scheffler: Deutsche Maler und Zeichner im neunzehnten Jahrhundert , Leipzig 1923

22 Frank Büttner: Peter Cornelius – Fresken und Freskenprojekte. Volume 2. Wiesbaden 1999, p. 214 ff, 227 / Cordula Grewe:: Historicism and the symbolic imagination in Nazarene art. in: Art Bulletin. March 2007, Vol. 89 Issue 1

23 Joseph C. Sloane: Paul Marc Joseph Chenavard. Artist of 1848. North Carolina 1962, p. 17

24 Lionel Gossman: Unwilling Moderns: The Nazarene Painters of the Nineteenth Century, in: Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Volume 2, Issue 3, Autumn 2003

25 Anon.: Trost für 1849. Mit vier Holzschnitten. Düsseldorf 1849

26 The scene shown here was evidently dedicated to the memory of the Cologne revolutionary Robert Blum, who after the crushing of the October uprising was executed near Vienna in November 1848 as a delegate of the Frankfurt National Assembly. He was initially sentenced to death by hanging and then “pardoned to death by powder and lead”.

27 > Morton Keller p. 73 ff.

28 Helmut Börsch-Supan, for example, made the proximity of Karl May’s Radebeul to Kaufmann’s temporary place of residence in Dresden responsible for his liking of wild west scenes. (Helmut Börsch-Supan: Die Anziehungskraft Amerikas auf die deutschen Maler 1800 – 1860. in: Bilder aus der Neuen Welt, ed. Thomas Gaehtgens, Munich 1988)

29> Bigelow Paine p. 136

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