SUPERVISED BY: PD Dr. Thorsten Foegen
TITLE: Tacitus in the Nationalist Art of northern Europe in the 19th Century
My doctoral work looks at how the works of the Roman historian Tacitus, insofar as they relate to northern Europe, were employed by artists working to nationalist prescriptions in various European countries during the 19th century. In particular, my focus is on how the historical themes and protagonists of the Germania, Agricola, and Annals were used in the visual arts during a period fundamental to the formation of national identities in northern and central European states. I look at the complex dynamic of reception between the original ancient context of these monographs and the modern world of 19th century Europe, at the manifestation and purpose of their usage in the nationalist paintings, illustrations and monumental sculpture of different countries, through the respective background to their reception in each country, and how this was affected by the local circumstances in each case. A particular emphasis will be placed upon how Tacitean themes and characters from these two texts were employed in different ways and for different ends by artists working in different places, though nonetheless working within the broader context of the nationalist movement across Europe at the time. To this extent the study is also a contrastive one, looking at the differences in how Tacitus was used in different local contexts, where he was found more or less useful for differing needs and concerns.