As the Biedermeier period of 1815 ( Congress of Vienna ) is referred to 1848 ( the beginning of the bourgeois revolution ) in the German federal states. The term Biedermeier, the concept of restoration is linked in the political history, refers to the state political development after the end of the Napoleonic era and the Congress of Vienna. Importantly, the term is hardly clear contoured as an era designation of cultural history, as such, however, as many associations with the Biedermeier from the later 19th century, built and often must be regarded as projected attributions. As the pre-March period belonging to the same time period opposite movement is called, which sought a politically revolutionary change and was reflected among other things in writers such as Georg Büchner and Heinrich Heine.

The term Biedermeier refers in part to the emerging at this time own culture and art of the middle class (eg in the House Music, interior design and also in the clothing fashion ), on the other hand on the literature of the time, often with the label " homespun " or " conservative " provided. As a typical flight applies to the idyll, and into the private.

Origin of the term

The term Biedermeier goes back to the fictional character of the true-hearted, but philistine Gottlieb Biedermeier, who invented the lawyer and writer Ludwig Eichrodt and the doctor Adolf Kussmaul and under his name in the years from 1855 in the Munich Fliegende Blatter various poems were published, the partially parodies of the poetry of the real village teacher Samuel Friedrich Sauter were.

The result was the name of two poems with titles Biedermann Abendgemütlichkeit and stroll Maiers lawsuit that Joseph Victor von Scheffel had published in this Journal in 1848. Until 1869 Biedermaier was written only after the spelling came up with a. The fictional Mr. Biedermeier was a sealing Swabian village teacher with easy mind, the loud Eichrodt help his little room, his garden close, be unsightly stains and the poor lot of a despised village schoolmaster to earthly happiness. In the publications, the honesty, the small-mindedness and the apolitical attitude of large sections of the middle classes caricatured and ridiculed.

However, the revolutionary poet Ludwig Pfau has written a poem in 1847 entitled Mr. Biedermeier, which denounces smugness and double standards. It begins with the lines:

Supposedly Eichrodt this poem has only learned much later, after he had his own Biedermeier poetry already published. Verify this claim can not be Eichrodts.

After 1900, the first negative connotations term Biedermeier was perceived more value-neutral, he stood for a petty-bourgeois culture of domesticity and the emphasis on the private.

Use as a period designation developed from the late 19th century - first in art and architectural history. The first book publications with the term in the title then appear around the turn of the century to the 20th century. At the same time the Biedermeier style was modern again - after the lush décor of historicism in the period of the basic furniture and all forms of Biedermeier liked again. Therefore, furniture has been made ​​new again in Biedermeier forms, it is called here (especially in the art and antiques trade ) sometimes the style of Biedermeier 2.

Biedermeier can also be reduced to the cozy living and the private coziness of time today, as a society resting phase before the social upheavals of the mid-19th century, in response to government control and censorship.

Political situation

After the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and his exile, the decisions were implemented that had been negotiated at the Congress of Vienna. It was about an order of Europe with the aim of a restoration, that is, the restoration of those relationships that had dominated before the French revolution Europe. To this end, the conservative monarchs were Emperor Francis I of Austria, the Russian Tsar Alexander I and the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III. a covenant.

An important political role played Prince Metternich, a native of Rhinelander, who was in the service of the Austrian emperor. He sat by the so-called Carlsbad Decrees of 1819, which meant a strong limitation any political activity. It was introduced strict censorship on all publications, including the musical works. Writers such as Heinrich Heine and Georg Büchner emigrated, along with Karl Marx, then editor of the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne.

Without the Carlsbad Decrees, the Biedermeier period is not feasible; outside Germany, Austria and Scandinavia, therefore, exists also the term Biedermeier not because the social development in these countries was different.

Fine Arts

In the visual arts of the Biedermeier period dominated the genre and landscape painting, as well as the portrait. Religious and historical motifs almost completely missing. The style was realistic, the images often resembled a photographic illustration. Based on the old Dutch painting of the 17th century. However, the desired result was a pseudo - realism, because reality was like a little idealized and "improved". The watercolor technique reached a very high level; book illustrations for the lithography has now been increasingly used. As visual artists of the Biedermeier period the painter Moritz von Schwind, Frederick Gauer man, Eduard Gaertner, Adolph Menzel ( early work ), Ludwig Richter, Carl Spitzweg, Josef Kriehuber, Ferdinand Georg forest Müller, Peter Fendi and Joseph Anton Koch apply. Judge was asked mainly as an illustrator, he illustrated some 150 books. A special feature of the Biedermeier period were the so-called Room photos, detailed descriptions of individual living spaces. In the glass and porcelain painting the epoch with the house painters Samuel Mohn and Anton Kothgasser is connected. Typical of this time is also the view glass.


In music, the term " Biedermeier " rather unusual; most of this era is spoken by early romanticism for the typical music. However, can also be for the music to some extent a Biedermeier - era differ in which it was first determined by the bourgeois taste. The house music gained great importance. The piano as a domestic instrument was the bourgeoisie increasingly popular. Demand was mainly chamber music pieces; in cities everywhere music companies and choral societies were founded. The note gave publishers to composers mainly light, cheerful works in order, because the taste of the customers was crucial to the sale; previously never been composed especially for home use, but has only been rewritten. Setting the tone in the piano music was Robert Schumann. Even Franz Schubert's songs were (though after his death) loved in the Bürgerei. As typical Biedermeier composers but rather less well-known figures such as Ludwig Berger, Christian Heinrich Rinck and Leopold Schefer be considered. Popular were, for example, the songs of Wilhelm Müller and Alexander Fescas.

The Biedermeier is also the time of the waltz, whose stronghold Vienna was natural. He emerged from the mostly outdoor danced Landler. Among the dances flocked to the masses, was here but playful cheerfulness allowed. Composer and conductor were partially treated like stars, most notably Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner. Very popular was also the Ballet - in Vienna, the ballet dancer Fanny Elssler celebrated triumphs. The outstanding female singing stars were Henriette Sontag and Jenny Lind.