By promoting cultural activities, Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxony, Weimar, and Eisenach (1739–1807) helped make Weimar a center of German intellectual life. Some of the most significant impulses behind Weimar’s cultural flowering can be traced to her salon, the Musenhof, and her sponsorship of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), the most renowned German writer of the period. Held on the centenary of Goethe’s birthday in 1849, the commemoration depicted in this illustration shows that Goethe continued to enjoy high regard even after his death. The library depicted here was subsequently renamed the Anna Amalia Library after the duchess. Wood engraving by unknown artist, 1849.

Goethe Commemoration in the Great Hall of the Grand Duke’s Library in Weimar (1849)


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© bpk / Dietmar Katz