I wrote about the connection between the forest and the German imagination in my post on the Grunewald not that long ago, and for those of you in Berlin – or if you will coming here before the end of March – the German Historical Museum has a special exhibition on that very topic. From the website:
In Germany the forest is more than just the sum of the trees. When trees are threatened, Germans go on the warpath. For in our country the forest is not only a cultural landscape formed through forestry and the result of modern recreational activities ranging from GPS-guided hikes to treetop trails. At the same time, the woods and trees possess great symbolic, spiritual and fairytale-like charismatic powers and have always been celebrated in German poetry, art and music. In this way the forest is deeply rooted in the German consciousness – not only when we are meandering under trees.
The exhibition will visualize this special relationship of the Germans to the forest, focusing first on the Romantic Age around 1800, when the forest and the trees first became a matter of scientifically based forest management and at the same time enriched literature, music and the graphic arts as subject and theme. It was above all painting – the core of the exhibition – that shaped patterns of perception that have marked our view of the forest up to the present day.
Under Trees: The Germans and the forest is running until 4th March 2012. Here’s the link.