Know’st thou the land where the fair citron blows,
Where the bright orange midst the foliage glows,
Where soft winds greet us from the azure skies,
Where silent myrtles, stately laurels rise,
Know’st thou it well?
J. W. v. Goethe: Mignon (translation: www.readbookonline.net)
Long before Goethe, artists from the north used to go on pilgrimages to the Arcadia of Renaissance Italy. One of the first was Albrecht Dürer who thus marked ‘the beginning of creating the Renaissance, Classicistic and Romantic myth about the South’ (as Viktor Žmegač said in his book From Bach to Bauhaus). He was followed by Winckelmann, Goethe, Romantic painters, and then Nietzsche and T. Mann, with whom the decadent dream already started to die out.