- W.E. Yates
A term used of the culture of German-speaking Europe between the Treaty of Vienna (1815) and 1848, the year of revolutions. It is associated especially with southern Germany and with the Austria of Metternich, the architect of political stability in post-Napoleonic Europe. The term is borrowed from the name of a fictional schoolmaster created in the early 1850s by Ludwig Eichrodt (1827–92) as a satirical caricature of a bourgeois philistine. It was later adopted to refer to the comfortable domestic architecture and the decorative arts and painting of the period, and to a way of life founded in peaceful domestic harmony by contrast with the turbulence of the Napoleonic years. In the visual arts it is reflected in the domestic scenes and picturesque genre paintings of Josef Franz Danhauser, Peter Fendi and Carl Spitzweg (see illustration).
The Biedermeier culture of domesticity, associated with a politically quiescent bourgeoisie, presents an image of social stability, underpinned by a political conservatism whose aims were summed up in ...