“Watch on the Rhine”: Germania Defends the Rhine (1860)


Lorenz Clasen (1812–1899) was a German painter of portraits and historical subjects and a member of the so-called Düsseldorf School. His well-known painting Germania auf der Wacht am Rhein [Germania Defending the Rhine] is the visual correlate to the folk song of the same name. At the time, however, the perception of France was still varied and diverse. Thus, the painting does not attest to a unified perspective; rather it can be read as an attempt to direct the perception and interpretation of the Rhine.


Source: Lorenz Clasen, Germania auf der Wacht am Rhein, 1860, oil on canvas. Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Krefeld. Reproduction: Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Cologne, date: 1980/81—all rights reserved. Available online at: Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur, https://www.bildindex.de/document/obj05170901. See: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lorenz_Clasen_-_Germania_auf_der_Wacht_am_Rhein_(1860).jpg

© Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln Aufn.-Datum: 1980/1981

Ute Planert, “Vorbild oder Feindbild? Das Zeitalter Napoleons im Gedächtnis des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts,” in Jahrbuch für europäische Geschichte 14 (2013), pp. 5–38.

“Watch on the Rhine”: Germania Defends the Rhine (1860), published in: German History Intersections, <https://germanhistory-intersections.org/en/germanness/ghis:image-270> [November 29, 2023].