- Museum number
Series of twelve etchings from the Göttinger Taschenkalender illustrating 'Natural and Affected Behaviour'; the series consists of six pair of juxtaposing images, each showing proper (i.e. 'German') behaviour as opposed to behaviour presumed to be influenced by French or English fashion; topics range from fashion to horseriding. 1777
- Production date
Height: 80 millimetres
Width: 44 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Antony Griffiths and Frances Carey, 'German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe'. BM 1994, no.23 :
The two series of this title appeared in the 'Göttinger Taschen-Calender' for 1779 and 1780 respectively, accompanied by a commentary from Lichtenberg. Whereas the latter had carefully prescribed the content of 'The Progress of Virtue and Vice', in the case of 'Natural and Affected Behaviour' the artist was given a free hand in the choice of subjects for the contrasting scenes and their actual characterisation, as Lichtenberg himself explained in his introduction to the first series (see E.256 and Rudolf Focke, 'Chodowiecki und Lichtenberg. Daniel Chodowieckis Monatskupfer zum 'Göttingen Taschen-Calender nebst Georg Lichtenbergs Erklärungen', Leipzig 1901).
The whole concept of instruction through moral antitheses was central to eighteenth-century literature, and, of course, to Hogarth's print cycles, as well as to manuals of decorum, whose influence on Chodowiecki's illustrations in this instance is discussed by Werner Busch in a chapter of his recent book, 'Das sentimentalische Bild', Munich 1993. Lichtenberg's general purpose in 'Natural and Affected Behaviour' was to juxtapose the sober qualities of self-control and modest deportment which he generally associated with English mores, with the mannered artificiality typified by the Francophile court culture of so many of the German states, of which Chodowiecki would have been keenly aware in Berlin. The satire portrayed in the examples of 'affected' behaviour is principally directed against Germans who behave like foreigners, as in the case of 'The Conversation' in the first series: the affected couple, whose behaviour is as forced as the formal garden in which they find themselves, speak in broken French to their mutual incomprehension, in contrast with the couple in a naturalistic landscape who "are German, speak German and understand each other"; these are the true 'Germans' who, to quote Herder's later characterisation, "live without French vanity or English elegance" (from the 'Humanitäts Briefe', 1793, quoted in Sheehan, 'German History 1770-1866', p. 159).
The second series, which begins with the contrast between the unaffected nudity of a pre-lapsarian couple and an extravagant mode of dress referred to by Lichtenberg as an English fashion, focuses more on taste and sentiment or sense and sensibility. Two of Chodowiecki's most eloquent pairs are those in which sentiment is expressed in terms of differing responses to landscape and contrasting forms of artistic appreciation. Their conception is perhaps ultimately derived from the distinctions the Earl of Shaftesbury sought to make in his 'Characteristicks' in 1711 between true and false enthusiasm, allowing for a "fair and plausible enthusiasm, a reasonable ecstasy and transport" in response to architecture, painting and music ('Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times', vol.II, p.40). A similar ideal was espoused by Goethe, when, in a letter to Herder from Rome in 1786 he refers to the gratifying sense within himself of "an inner 'Solidität', with which the soul is as it were imprinted: seriousness without pedantry and composure combined with joy." (quoted in W.D.Robson-Scott, 'The Younger Goethe and the Visual Arts', 1981, p. 115). The two concluding pairs portray contrasting reactions to bad weather and to horsemanship.
Apart from Lichtenberg's text for the series, an extensive review was published in Meusel, in which the author (he has been identified as Christian Friedrich Timmer of Erfurt although the review was published anonymously), despite some reservations about Chodowiecki's draughtsmanship, praised "the artist-philosopher" for capturing the essence of the current epoch whose "character, through its literary, aesthetic, philosophical and pedagogical adornments, is one of sentimentality and affectation." (Meusel. Heft 3, 1780, p.24).
This series was printed on six sheets
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1994/5 Sep-Jan, BM, German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe, no. 23
1995 Jan-Mar, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gall, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
1995 Mar-May, Edinburgh, NG Scotland, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
1995 May-Jun, Newcastle, Northumbria Univ Gall, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
1995 Jul-Aug, Plymouth City Mus & AG, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
1995 Sep-Oct, York City AG, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
1995 Nov-Dec, Nottingham, Djanogly AG, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Göttinger Taschenkalender (1777)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number