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German History in Documents and Images
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True Happiness (1784)
This scene of blissful family life is consistent with the movement in German literature, art, and music known as Empfindsamkeit (sentimentality or sensitivity), which emphasized emotion, friendship, love, and familial devotion – the true happiness to which the title of this etching refers. The artist portrays an extended family (presumably that of an artisan or a farmer) in the idyllic warmth of subdued, earthy colors. In the midst of all this domestic bliss, the lady of the house still manages to attend to her duties, however. The cloud of steam emanating from the background, not to mention the board in front of her, suggests that she is ironing. Copperplate engraving, after a drawing by Jean Michel Moreau (1741-1814), 1784.