Biedermeier 1815 – 1848

The Biedermeier period refers to an era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848 during which the middle class grew and arts appealed to common sensibilities It began with the time of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and ended with the onset of the European revolutions in 1848 Although the term itself is a historical reference, it is predominantly used to denote the artistic styles that flourished in the fields of literature, music, the visual arts and interior design

The Biedermeier period does not refer to the era of time as a whole, but to a particular mood and set of trends that grew out of the unique underpinnings of the time in central Europe There were two driving forces for the development of the period The first was the growing urbanization and industrialization leading to a new urban middle class, which created a new kind of audience for the arts The second was the political stability prevalent under Clemens Wenzel von Metternich following the end of the Napoleonic Wars The effect was for artists and society in general to concentrate on the domestic and (at least in public) the non-political Writers, painters, and musicians began to stay in safer territory, and the emphasis on home life for the growing middle-class meant a blossoming of furniture design and interior decorating

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Biedermeier was an influential German style of furniture design that evolved during the years 1815–1848 The period extended into Scandinavia, as disruptions due to numerous states that made up the German nation were not unified by rule from Berlin until 1871These post-Biedermeier struggles, influenced by historicism, created their own styles Throughout the period, emphasis was kept upon clean lines and minimal ornamentation consistent with Biedermeier’s basis in utilitarian principles As the period progressed, however, the style moved from the early rebellion against Romantic-era fussiness to increasingly ornate commissions by a rising middle class, eager to show their newfound wealth The idea of clean lines and utilitarian postures would resurface in the 20th century, continuing into the present day Middle- to late-Biedermeier furniture design represents a heralding towards historicism and revival eras long sought for Social forces originating in France would change the artisan-patron system that achieved this period of design, first in the Germanic states and, then, into Scandinavia The middle class growth originated in the English industrial revolution and many Biedermeier designs owe their simplicity to Georgian lines of the 19th century, as the proliferation of design publications reached the loose Germanic states and the Austro-Hungarian empire

Biedermeier architecture is marked by simplicity and elegance, exemplified by the paintings of Jakob Alt and Carl Spitzweg One of the most elegant surviving Biedermeier buildings is the Stadttempel in Vienna Through the unity of simplicity, mobility and functionality the Biedermeier Neoclassical architecture created tendencies of crucial influence for the Jugendstil—Art Nouveau, the Bauhaus, and the 20th-century architecture

Austrian painting during this era is characterized by the commitment to portray a sentimental and pious view of the world in a realistic way Biedermeier themes reinforced feelings of security, Gemütlichkeit, traditional pieties and simplicity, eschewing political and social commentary during the epoch Thus, the techniques, while classic in nature were of the utmost importance to reach a realistic rendering Regarding the thematic, the technique was seen not only as a narrative medium to tell the past in anecdotal vignettes, but also to represent the present This formed an aesthetic unity most evidenced in the portraits, landscapes and contemporary-reporting genre scenes

Biedermeier in music is most evident in the numerous publications for in-home music making Published arrangements of operatic excerpts, German Lieder, and some symphonic works that could be performed at the piano without professional musical training, illustrate the broadened reach of music in this period