In this thesis I consider Karl Friedrich Schinkel's The Hall of Stars in the Palace of the Queen of the Night (1813), a set design of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), in relation to female audiences during a time of Germanic nationalism. Although Schinkel is customarily known as the great modern architect of Germany, his work as a set designer is exceedingly telling of his feelings toward the political and geographical unification of the Germanic regions. Through his set designs, Schinkel successfully used the influential space of the theatre to articulate not only nationalism, but positive female empowerment in his allegorical depiction of woman. However, the popularity of the theatre as an educational tool for women during the early nineteenth-century has remained largely overlooked. Additionally, the evil nature of the Queen of the Night in Emanuel Schikaneder's libretto has made the differentiation of Schinkel's positive figural interpretation essentially unnoticed. Though scholars have addressed Schinkel's aesthetic in terms of nationalism, the incorporation of allegorical women into his work and their responsibilities within this movement remains understudied. This thesis discusses the vision of nationalism as not necessarily an ideology of politics, but rather an ideology of religion and a unified culture. Through the German Romantic notion of the Eternal Feminine and the expanding study of maternal feminism, this thesis discusses the acknowledgement of the encouraging roles of women morally, spiritually, and nationalistically during a significant political time in Germany's history. Additionally, discussion of the theatre as a popular nationalistic institution for education allowed Schinkel's design for Die Zauberflöte to specifically engage and connect female viewers with nationalism. I attempt to show how all of these contextual ideologies were expressed through the allegorical female. Furthermore, in recognition of female viewers through allegory, Schinkel's The Hall of Stars expressed an empowerment of the feminine role within the drive for national unification.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts



Date Submitted


Document Type





Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Die Zauberflöte, German Romanticism, nationalism, women spectators, theatre



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Art Practice Commons