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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Anna Amalia

b. 1739, Wolfenbüttel, Germany; d. 1807, Weimar

Anna Amalia, duchess of Saxe-Weimar, was widowed in 1758 and appointed regent for her infant son. Under her urbane rule, the small duchy became a cultural mecca. She instigated the birth of Weimar classicism by gathering together the leading intellectuals of Enlightenment Germany; music, literature, and drama flourished. The Musenhof (Court of the Muses), as her court came to be called, included Goethe, Herder, and Schiller. A composer herself, Anna Amalia wrote the music for Goethe’s opera Erwin und Elmire and for his play Das Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilen. Her service as regent ended in 1775, after which she continued her cultural pursuits, touring Italy in 1788–90.