Following his participation in the Dresden chapter of the 1848 revolutions – a populist affair with proto-National Socialist characteristics – Richard Wagner ruminates on the concurrent role of art with social upheavel. The piece encompasses a brief history of European art with particular focus on the triumphs of the Greeks, yet their downfall taking place for reasons concurrent to efforts in Wagner’s time as today to create a stronger, a freer, and a more idealized society. Wagner’s passages invoking the downfall of art to commerce and notoriety demonstrate an extreme prescience to our struggles today as do his prescriptions to remedy in returning to Nature and Identity as the progenitors of true art.
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