Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft

Even at the beginning of his career, Richard Wagner (1813–1883) did not solely make appearances as a conductor and composer. Beginning in the early 1840s, his musical career was accompanied by lively literary activity. Influenced by the Dresden Revolution of 1849, in which he participated as a political speaker and was even wanted by the police, Wagner produced a series of important writings. While in exile in Zurich, in 1849 Wagner wrote the treatise The Art-work of the Future as well as Art and the Revolution. The concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, which he had originally used in Art and the Revolution in reference to the Attic tragedy, was expanded to include the utopian concept of a work of art of the future. A Gesamtkunstwerk can develop only as a work by a collective comprised of all artists. Such a work quashes the fragmentation of art genres and is meant to lead the lonely artist into the freedom he hopes for, which is possible only in an alliance.