Natural spectacle

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Example of a natural spectacle: the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen ( Switzerland )
Caspar David Friedrich
Landscape with Rainbow
around 1810

A natural spectacle is an expression for a moving process in nature , which makes people look or perceive in admiration and amazement without fear.

To the subject

'Naturschauspiel' is a German expression primarily from the 19th century. He follows on from the theatrical metaphor of “ drama ” and explains nature as a stage: what is going on and being perceived here has aesthetic significance (is “ beautiful ”, “unique” or “ sublime ”).

With Goethe this derivation is still close when he praises the Sakuntala in his Indian poems :

"Feminine purity, innocent indulgence, man's forgetfulness, maternal isolation, father and mother united by the son, the most natural conditions, but here in the regions of miracles that hover between heaven and earth like fertile clouds, poetically elevated and one whole Ordinary natural spectacle performed by gods and god children. "


The natural spectacles include natural phenomena such as the aurora borealis , the zodiacal light and the sea glow , also alpenglow , weather lights , swarms of shooting stars , rainbows , dawn or sunset , snowfall . Acoustically also can thunderstorm ( " thunder weather") or waterfall serve to natural spectacle. Some natural spectacles are rare, such as geysers , solar eclipses or comets . It can also be about natural spectacles emanating from animals, such as the migration of animals in Africa, bird migration , or of plants, such as greening in spring, the unfolding of flowers , the autumn color .

Cultural sociological classification

In previous centuries, these natural phenomena were also conspicuous, but were taken more important as divine signs (“God's fingers”, Omina ) and were viewed more as predictions that were to be feared and interpreted. In this respect, the social change from the indication of a possible disaster to (only) a “natural spectacle ” is a cultural-sociological indication that the importance (the possible fearfulness) of nature has receded in a society and has given way to the safe admiration.

Artistic acquisitions

Numerous works, especially of the visual and poetic arts, depict natural spectacles.

A highly pathetic poetic example is the song of the three archangels as a prologue in the sky of Goethe's Faust : "The sun sounds the old way ...", or z. B. the great crane dance on the Kullaberg in Selma Lagerlöfs Niels Holgersson from 1907.

See also

Web links

Commons : Nature in Art  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: Naturschauspiel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. On the social change from the threat to nature to its aestheticization in the sociology of the landscape park, cf. Volker von Borries, Lars Clausen , Karl Simons: Settlement Sociology. Kösel, Munich 1978.
  2. chap. 5