Fête for the Nymphs of the River Naethus

WAG 8143


This work is one of two illustrations by Grimm for Salomon Gessner's (1730 - 1788) book 'Daphnis', first published in 1754. At the beginning of book I, the shepherdesses gather to try to please the nymphs of the river Naethus so that the river will not flood their fields. It is on this occasion that Daphnis falls in love with Phyllis. At the end of book II the couple marry. Grimm's early poetry shares with Gessner's writing a pastoral, idyllic and sentimental approach, together with an emphasis on "a return to nature". They may have known each other in Switzerland between 1750 and 1765. Both contributed to Adrian Zingg's (1734 - 1816) 'Das Stammbuch'. Grimm's contributions are dated February 1766 and Gessner's 30 May 1766. Grimm was in Paris between 1765 and 1768; by then Gessner's works were well known there, 'Daphnis' having been first published in French in 1764.