All content copyright The Nietzsche Channel. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures
© 2009-2016 The Nietzsche Channel

Over 400 colorized and digitally enhanced images of Nietzsche and Nietzscheana—accompanied by selected correspondence, works, notes and other material—illuminate the life of the most influential philosopher of modernity.

Part 1. Nietzsche's Childhood: 1844-58.
Part 2. Nietzsche's School Years and Military Service: 1858-68.
Part 3. Professor in Basel: 1869-79.
Part 4. The Wandering Philosopher: 1879-1888.
Part 5. Illness: 1889-96.
Part 6. Exploited in Weimar: 1897-1900.
Part 7. Death and Influence: 1900-present.
Appendix 1: Family, Friends, Correspondents.
Appendix 2. Chronology of Nietzsche's Music.

The Nietzsche Channel Shop has more ebooks.

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 1. Nietzsche's Childhood: 1844-58.   PURCHASE PART 1
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 


Franziska Nietzsche (1826-1897).
Nietzsche's mother, at ca. 15 years old.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

The following days passed amid tears and preparations for the funeral. O God! I had become a fatherless orphan, my dear mother a widow! — — — — — On August 2 the earthly remains of my dear father were committed to the bosom of the earth. The parish had prepared a tomb made from stone. At one o'clock in the afternoon the ceremonies began amid the loud tolling of the bells. Oh, the muffled sound of those bells in my ear will never fade away, never will I forget the gloomily swelling melody of the hymn, "Jesus, My Consolation"! The sounds of the organ roared through the interior of the church. A large crowd of relatives and acquaintances had congregated, almost all pastors and teachers in the vicinity. Pastor Wimmer1 gave the brief sermon at the altar, Superintendent Wilke2 the graveside speech and Pastor Oßwalt [sic]3 the benediction. Then the coffin was lowered, the somber words of the clergyman rang out and he was transported away, our dear father all of us bereaved. The earth lost a faithful soul, heaven received a contemplative one. —
— From Nietzsche's Notebooks: "From My Life." Written August 18 to September 1, 1858.

1. Karl Julius Moritz Wimmer (?-1858). Pastor in Großgörschen and later in Sachsenburg.
2. Superintendent Wilke from Lützen had noted of Nietzsche's father in September of 1846: "The pastor, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, now almost 33 years old and happy father of two children, is an industrious, conscientious, respected and beloved clergyman who proclaims the gospel with warmth and devotion and is effective in his ministry. He preaches about the evangelary pericopes, only on special occasions about the epistolary, he prepares his sermons and memorizes them." See "Protokoll über die Kirchen-Visitation in der Parochie Röcken." Sept. 19. 1846. Archiv der Evangelischen Kirche der Kirchenprovinz Sachsen. Magdeburg. Rep A Spec. 6. Nr. 3582. 3 f.
3. Gustav Adolf Oßwald (1801-1873).

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 2. Nietzsche's School Years and Military Service: 1858-68.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 

Friedrich Nietzsche.
June 1868.
From b/w photo taken by: Fr. Andreas Paltzow, Halle, and reproduced by Louis Held (1851-1927), Weimar.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Wittekind, July 2, 1868: Letter to Sophie Ritschl.

Even if I did not have to return the borrowed book, you still would have received a letter from me today. Although I had all too many obligations last Sunday, a charming and sunny day, the memory of you is the best one that I brought from Leipzig to my secluded spa.1 But if you (I know not guided by what genius) have at times given me your distinguished participation,2 then you must also patiently bear the consequences, the first of which might be today's letter. The day before yesterday, at noon, I reached the pretentious little village spa called Wittekind. It was raining hard and the flags that had been raised for the spa festival, hung down limp and soiled. My landlord, an indubitable rogue with blue opaque spectacles, came to meet me and led me to lodgings rented 6 days before that, with an utterly moldy sofa, were as desolate as a prison. It soon became clear to me, too, that this same landlord employed only one maidservant for two houses full of visitors, thus perhaps 20-40 people. Before the first hour was up, I already had a visitor, but so disagreeable a one that I was able to shake him off only by means of the most energetic courtesy.3 In short, the whole atmosphere of the place I had just entered was chilly, damp and dismal.

Yesterday I investigated the character of the place a bit and the people here. At dinner I had the good fortune, in part, to sit next to a deaf-mute and some women with marvelously-shaped figures.4 The countryside doesn't seem bad; but one can't step outside to go anywhere or see anything due to the rain and the damp. Volkmann5 visited me and prescribed the local baths; at any rate, an operation is set for the near future. —

How grateful I am to you for giving me Ehlert's book, which I read on the first evening in deplorable lighting upon the moldy sofa—read with pleasure and inner warmth. Vicious people might say that the book is poorly and excitedly written. But the book of a musician is not quite the book of a visual man; at bottom, it is music that happens to be written with words instead of notes. A painter must get the most painful sensation when this clutter of images is pulled together without any method. But unfortunately I have a penchant for the Parisian feuilleton, for Heine's Travel Sketches, etc., and prefer a stew to roast beef. What pains it has cost me to produce a scientific face in order to write down sober trains of thought with the requisite discretion and alla breve. Your spouse6 also knows a song about it (not to the melody "Ah, dear Franz, yet," etc.),7 who himself was very surprised about the complete lack of "style." In the end I was like the sailor who feels less secure on land than in a moving ship. Maybe I will find a philological subject that can be treated musically, and then I will babble like an infant and heap up images like a barbarian who has fallen asleep in front of an antique head of Venus, and despite the "flourishing haste" of the exposition—be quite right.8

And Ehlert is almost always right. But to many men truth is unrecognizable in this harlequin jacket. Not to us, we who take no page of this life so seriously that we cannot draw in a joke as a fleeting arabesque. And what god can be surprised if we now and then behave like satyrs and parody a life that always looks so serious and solemn, and wears cothurni on its feet?

That I have not managed to conceal my predilection for dissonance from you! Didn't you already have a terrible sample of it?9 Here you have a second. The drawbacks10 of Wagner and Schopenhauer are poorly concealed. But I will improve. And if you should allow me to play you something once again, then I will form my memory of that beautiful Sunday in tones and you shall hear what you read today, how much this memory means

to a bad musician etc.
Friedrich Nietzsche.

1. Nietzsche had visited the Ritschls in Leipzig on Sunday, June 28; the book he refers to is Louis Ehlert's Briefe über Musik an eine Freudin (Letters on Music to a Lady-Friend), Berlin: J. Guttentag, 1859. He was now in Wittekind near Halle, recovering from injuries sustained in a riding accident in March.
2. Might explain one of Nietzsche's cryptic remarks in his August 6, 1868 letter to Erwin Rohde: "I have been composing again: feminine influences."
3. The visitor was his cousin, Ernst Oehler (1856-1925). See Nietzsche's July 1, 1868 letter to Franziska and Elisabeth Nietzsche: "I had just sat down, when already a visitor arrived, who made me even more ill-tempered. Namely, Ernst, who is again in Halle for a few days and will éprouver sa fortune [try his luck] in Leipzig afterwards, of course appearing as usual with militant-like brazenness; I treated him for a while as a guest, since his demands were not too importunate; I finally had to refuse additional visits to me with somewhat energetic courtesy."
4. "... und einiger wunderbar geformter Frauengestalten." In the letter written to his mother and sister the previous day, Nietzsche describes sitting amidst a deaf mute and two "gräßliche weibliche Mißgeburten" (hideous female freaks).
5. Richard von Volkmann (1830-1889): a physician in Halle hired by Nietzsche's mother to treat her son's injury.
6. Friedrich Ritschl, Nietzsche's philology professor at the University of Leipzig.
7. "Ach lieber Franz, noch," a refrain from an old German folksong: "Komm, lieber Franz, noch einen Tanz! Noch ist es Zeit zum Heimegehen" (Come, dear Franz, yet another dance! There is still time to go home).
8. "... blühende Eile" (flourishing haste), an expression from the conclusion of Ehlert's book: "Leben Sie wohl! Ich habe Eile, blühende Eile, denn dieses Leben—es steigert sich nur bis zur Rose." (Farewell! I have haste, flourishing haste, for this life—it climbs no higher than the rose.) Briefe über Musik an eine Freundin, 166.
9. Nietzsche had played the piano at the Ritschls.
10. Pferdefüße: literally, "cloven feet."

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 3. Professor in Basel: 1869-79.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 


Paul Rée.
Naples, c. 1870s.
From b/w photo taken by: Raffaello Ferretti.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Basel, October 22, 1875: Letter to Paul Rée.

Dear Doctor, I had too much pleasure from your psychological observations for me to take quite seriously your Dead Man-Incognito ("posthumous writings").1 I recently found your work while rummaging through all sorts of new books, and immediately recognized some of the thoughts as your property, and the same experience was had by Gersdorff,2 who just recently quoted to me this thought from former times: "To be able to be comfortable in silence with one another may indeed be a greater sign of friendship than to be able to comfortably talk with one another, as Ree said."3 You are, therefore, living on in me and my friends, and when I had your so highly esteemed manuscript in my hands, nothing was more regretable than to be forced by a serious eye condition to swear off writing letters completely.

Far be it from me to presume praising you, nor do I wish to vex you with any "hopes" that I place in you. No! If you never publish anything other than these spirit-forming maxims, if this work is and remains your actual legacy, then all is well and good: whoever lives and walks so independently has the right to request that one spare him from praise and hopes. In the event that you intend to publish anything else, I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that you can always count with certainty on my publisher, Mr. E. Schmeitzner4 in Schloss-Chemnitz. I say this especially because the only thing about your work I am not happy with is the last page, upon which the writings of Mr. E. von Hartmann5 parade back and forth; the work of a thinker, however, should not even on its posterior part remind one of the writings of a pseudo-thinker.

With very good wishes for your well-being and the request to kindly accept my gratitude for having given your maxims at all to the public — with which you demonstrate that you have the spiritual welfare of your fellow man at heart,

I am and remain
yours
Friedrich Nietzsche.

1. Nietzsche refers to the title of Paul Rée's anonymously published work, Psychologische Beobachtungen. Aus dem Nachlaß von * * *. [Psychological Observations. From the Postumous Writings of * * *.] Berlin: Duncker, 1875.
2. Carl von Gersdorff (1844-1904).
3. The actual Rée quote is: "Behaglich mit einander sprechen können ist ein geringeres Zeichen von Sympathie, als behaglich mit einander schweigen können." (To be able to be comfortable talking with one another is a lesser sign of sympathy than to be able to be comfortable in silence with one another.) Psychologische Beobachtungen, p. 105.
4. Ernst Schmeitzner (1851-1895).
5. Eduard Von Hartmann (1842-1906).

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 4. The Wandering Philosopher: 1879-1888.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 


"Der zu kleine Lobredner" (The tiny eulogist).
From b/w aquatint for the "Leipziger Künstlerverein," 1911.
By: Julius Walter Hammer (1849-1932).
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.


"Ihr höheren Menschen, euer Schlimmstes ist: ihr lerntet alle nicht tanzen, wie man tanzen muss — über euch hinweg tanzen! Was liegt daran, dass ihr missriethet!

Wie Vieles ist noch möglich! So lernt doch über euch hinweg lachen! Erhebt eure Herzen, ihr guten Tänzer, hoch! höher! Und vergesst mir auch das gute Lachen nicht!

Diese Krone des Lachenden, diese Rosenkranz-Krone: euch, meinen Brüdern, werfe ich diese Krone zu! Das Lachen sprach ich heilig; ihr höheren Menschen, lernt mir — lachen!"
Also sprach Zarathustra, 3: "Vom höheren Menschen," 20.

"You higher men, the worst thing about you is: none of you has learned to dance as one must dance — to dance away beyond yourselves! What does it matter that you have failed!

How much is still possible! So just learn to laugh away beyond yourselves! Lift up your hearts, you good dancers, high! higher! And do not forget to laugh well either!

This laugher's crown, this rose-wreath crown: to you, my brothers, I throw this crown! Laughter I have pronounced holy; you higher men, learn from me — to laugh!"
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 3: "On the Higher Man," 20.

"Für die Fastnachtsfeier 1911 hat Hammer eine interessante Radierung gefertigt. Man sieht eine riesige Nietzsche-Büste; auf einer an sie gelehnten Leiter steht ein Männlein, das sich vergeblich bemüht, einen Lorbeerkranz auf dem Haupte des Gewaltigen anzubringen." (For the carnival celebration in 1911, Hammer made an interesting etching. One sees a gigantic Nietzsche bust; on a ladder leaning against it is a little man who tries in vain to place a laurel wreath on the head of the giant.)
— Walter von Zur Westen, "Leipziger Festkarten." In: Ex libris. Buchkunst und angewandte Graphik. Jahrgang 21. Berlin: Druck von O. Holten, 1911: 159-170 (163).

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 5. Illness: 1889-96.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 


Friedrich Nietzsche as a patient at the
Jena Institute for the Care and Cure of the Insane.
Ca. 1889.
From b/w photo taken by:
Unknown.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

"During my second year1 in Jena I was translating some articles from American and English medical journals into German for Dr. Otto Binswanger, the head of the Neurological Institute. One day he told me that Friedrich Nietzsche had been brought to the institute by his mother for observation. ‘Would you like to go with me when I visit him?' he asked.

As Nietzsche was then the most important philosopher in Europe, it was an event for an obscure student to have the opportunity of seeing him. When we went in he was crouched in a corner of his room, a strange and spectral figure. His face was livid. His enormous mustache seemed to have grown limp under its own weight. Beneath his bushy brows his glowering eyes looked out into space as if they were seeing things beyond human understanding. Dr. Binswanger spoke to him several times. There was no answer. He was so completely detached from the outside world that neither sight nor sound made any impression upon him.

Upon leaving I said to the doctor, ‘He looks like a captive eagle.'

‘Yes,' was the response, given with a sad shake of the head, ‘an eagle that has flown too high.‘"
— Arnold Genthe, As I Remember. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1936, 20.

1. In 1889 (when Genthe was a philology student at the University of Jena).

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 6. Exploited in Weimar: 1897-1900.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 



"Friedrich Nietzsche."
Bust, 1898.
By: Max Kruse (1854-1942).
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.


Max Kruse.

"N[ietzsche] was always pleased when I arrived, and already had a hand stretched out toward me when I entered the doorway.1 It made a strange impression, this head of a prophet, to see tragedy incarnate smiling. He was an amiable lunatic. He never spoke, and I don't even believe he still could, even though every day his sister told me a little of what he supposedly said. During the sitting, Frau Dr. [i.e., Elisabeth] sometimes read to him, often in French. He gave the impression that he understood. But in a short while, sleep overcame him. Once she also wound a small music box, and when he hopped with delight and clapped his hands like a child, it was deeply moving. When the bust was finished and the sittings were over, he would return to the spot where I had modeled him. The sister was overjoyed and wept for a long time over the finished work."
— Kösen, April 4-7, 1918: "From the recollections of the sculptor Max Kruse," Goethe-Schiller Archive, 72/2460 (unpublished manuscript). See Richard Krummel's Nietzsche und der deutsche Geist. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter, 1998, 1:521.

1. Kruse spent several weeks at Villa Silberblick, where Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche had her brother pose for a bust. Around 1902, a smaller bust — without the Sphinx-style base — was made available for sale to the public. For more info on Kruse and the Nietzsche-Archive, see Jürgen Krause, "Martyrer" Und "Prophet." Studien zum Nietzsche-kult in der bildenden Kunst der Jahrhundertwende. Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1984, 138-142.

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 7. Death and Influence: 1900-present.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 


“She reads ‘Nietzsche.‘“
Postcard by W. R. B. & Co., Vienna, 1920.
Enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

"It is not as though Nietzsche, momentarily overwhelmed, for example, by the sight of the world's suffering and man's sin, had undergone an atheistic 'phase,' no, he deliberately cultivated, maintained and propagated atheism. We can only say, therefore, that he was — intellectually — a very wicked man."
— Frederick Copleston, Friedrich Nietzsche: Philosopher Of Culture. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1942: ix.

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Appendix 1: Family, Friends, Correspondents.
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

 


Erwin Rohde.
As an older man.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

"On my journey here from Cop[enhagen], I regaled myself with Nietzsche's latest book.1 I read most of it with great ill-humor. Most of it is still discourses of an over-surfeited man after dinner, enhanced, here and there, by the stimulation of wine but full of an offensive disgust with everything and everybody. The actual philosophical parts in it — when touched upon — are as paltry and almost childish as the political ones, fatuous and ignorant of the world. Nevertheless there are some very clever aperçus in it, also some rapturous dithyrambic passages. But everything is capricious; convictions are nothing more than talk; on a whim, one point of view is put forth and from there everything is modified — as if there should be only one point of view in the world! And of course the opposite point of view is taken and praised as well the next time. I am no longer able to take these eternal metamorphoses seriously. There are hermit's visions and mental soap bubbles, which surely give a hermit amusement and diversion; but why convey that to the world, like a kind of gospel? There are for me the eternal proclamation of tremendous things, hair-raising audacities of thought, which then, to the bored disappointment of the reader, never come! — this is unspeakably offensive to me. It's similar to Platen2 and his constant advance notice of his own future great poetic achievements; ultimately it is an outburst of a brilliant ingenium,3 but just incapable of [doing] what it really would like to — an altogether unpleasant spectacle. That such a thing makes no impact, I find completely justified; indeed, nothing really comes of it; everything runs like sand through the fingers; in the end — which tangible ideas could one possibly dismiss? Flimmering and flickering before the eyes, no consistently beautiful, transfiguring light comes out of the book!”
— Wyk auf Föhr, September 1, 1886: Letter from Erwin Rohde to Franz Overbeck.

1. Beyond Good and Evil.
2. August von Platen-Hallermünde (1796-1835): anti-romantic poet.
3. Natural capacity, character.

The Nietzsche Channel
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Appendix 2. Chronology of Nietzsche's Music.   PURCHASE APPENDIX 2
Preview.


© 2012 The Nietzsche Channel.

All content copyright The Nietzsche Channel. Not to be reproduced without permission.