Any good fairy tale may captivate a child’s (or adult’s) mind, but few could argue that, to be truly enchanting, a tale needs great illustrations. Two of the most influential fairy tale tellers in history were the German Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm. Both very intelligent scholars, they knew how to spin a tale in the most effective way possible. However, they had plenty of work just dealing with the tales’ text, so in the area of illustration, they let their younger brother Ludwig take over, beginning with the second edition of their fairy tales.
The fifth child of six in the Grimm family, Ludwig, who was always called Louis, did not necessarily follow in the scholarly footsteps of his two older brothers. Instead, he explored the world of art, eventually becoming an accomplished painter and etcher. On March 14, 1790, Ludwig was born in Hanau, Germany, into a family which placed a high value on education. As teenagers, the Grimm brothers were subjected to a demanding schedule of schooling, but they used what little free time they had to practice their drawing and sketching. Jacob and Wilhelm also became fairly skilled artists, but only Ludwig pursued the craft for the rest of his life.
In time, he became quite well known, mostly for his portraiture. From 1823 to 1826, he was hired to paint portraits of the professors at the University of Göttingen, where his brothers also worked. Several of his subjects were very famous figures, including his brothers and Martin Luther. He also depicted many of his friends and the majority of his closer relatives with his intricate engravings.
Ludwig was a versatile artist, and he used a wide variety of styles and media to portray many different subjects. His hum...
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...ould be missing something, an ingredient that may not be as academically influential as the text, but one that is integral to the history of fairy tales, nonetheless.
Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (vol. 2).
London: George Bell and Sons, 1903.
Peppard, Murray B. Paths Through the Forest: A Biography of the Brothers Grimm.
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.
Harder, Hans-Bernd, and Ekkehard Kaufmann. Die Brüder Grimm in ihrer amtlichen
und politischen Tätigkeit–Ausstellungskatalog. Kassel: Verlag Weber &
Koszinowski, Ingrid, and Vera Levschner. Ludwig Emil Grimm, 1790-1863: Maler,
Zeichner, Radierer. Kassel: Verlag Weber & Weidemeyer, 1985.
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