View of the city centre of Jena—in the middle the »Jentower«.

The imagined reality

On the legacy of Romanticism in the modern world
View of the city centre of Jena—in the middle the »Jentower«.
Image: Jens Meyer (University of Jena)

Does life have a meaning? And if so, what is it? Are we as individuals part of a greater whole? Some questions cannot be answered unequivocally, even with the most sophisticated scientific methods. But that does not stop us from searching for answers nevertheless. In doing so, we allow ourselves to be guided by our imagination: we create utopias, envision the future and imagine worlds and dimensions that go beyond those that can be measured and experienced. This form of conscious creation of meaning is an invention of Romanticism—the second innovative movement after the Enlightenment to set modernity on its way. Researchers at the University of Jena are studying the present-day traces of this era, in the very place where Romanticism had its origins in Germany.

In the former Leutragasse 5 the famous »Romanticist Gathering« took place in November 1799.
The roots of Romanticism in Germany can be found in Jena
Stefan Matuschek behind busts of central protagonists of Jena's early Romanticism.
An Interview with literature expert Stefan Matuschek
Often described as a landscape of romantic longing: the »mystical« forest
Three researchers and their projects on the »Romantic Model«
Prof. Dr Johannes Grave at the university’s collection of paintings.
On the traces of Romanticism in the visual arts of Europe
The wanderer above the Sea of Fog, painted around 1817 by Caspar David Friedrich.
A painting offers Romantic approaches to crisis management
View of a manuscript by Caspar David Friedrich.
Art historian Johannes Grave examines the writings of Friedrich
PD Dr Sandra Kerschbaumer, research coordinator of the Research Training Group »The Romantic Model«.
Sandra Kerschbaumer on Romantic motifs in politics
Nature, in the middle of the city: a magpie, observed at the Paradiespark in Jena.
An invitation to view the urban environment with different eyes
Dr Helmut Hühn in the Ernst Abbe veranda of Schiller's Garden House in Jena.
Helmut Hühn on the importance of Romantic places of remembrance
Replica of a »dry charging pile« designed by Johann Wilhelm Ritter (Ernst-Haeckel-Haus collection).
Johann Wilhelm Ritter discovered the UV radiation in Jena