The legendary figure of the Loreley became part of German folklore in the nineteenth century. In a ballad included in his novel Godwi (1800–01), the romantic poet Clemens Brentano (1778–1842) first told the story of a beautiful girl who sits on a slate rock in the Rhine River, luring charmed and careless boatmen to their destruction; to escape from her curse, she plunges to her death in the Rhine. In his Book of Songs (1827), Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) popularized the tale, which went on to become inextricably linked with the “German” Rhine. The painting below depicts the Rhine in the diffuse light of a rising sun. Signal fires have been placed around the dangerous section of rock. Painting by unknown artist, nineteenth century.

Loreley Rock at St. Goarshausen on the Rhine (19th Century)


Source: Original: Düsseldorf, Heinrich-Heine-Institute

Reproduction: bpk-Bildagentur, image number 00014786. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Walter Klein