Elisar von Kupffer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Elisar von Kupffer (1872 in Tallinn, Estonia – 1942) was a Baltic German artist, anthologist, poet, historian, translator, and playwright. He used the pseudonym 'Elisarion' for much of his writing.

He studied at St. Petersburg and then Berlin. After travels in Italy from 1902 to 1915, he established himself as a fine-art painter and muralist in Locarno, Switzerland, with his partner the historian and philosopher Eduard von Mayer (1873-1960). From 1925 to 1929 they transformed their Minusio villa at the Lake Maggiore into an opulent collection of art, the 'Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion'. From 1981 this has been a Museum dedicated to von Kupffer's work. The couple were at the heart of a religious movement called the Klarismus (in English: 'Clarity'). They left the villa at the city of Minusio, and their ashes are interred together inside it.

In 1899/1900 Adolf Brand published von Kupffer's influential anthology of homoerotic literature, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur in Berlin. The anthology was reprinted in 1995. The anthology was researched and created, in part, as a protest against the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in England.

Other publications include: the 1900 Irrlichter (the three stage plays Andrei, Erich and Narkissos); a 1908 book on Sodoma, the Renaissance artist; a 1912 stage play Aino und Tio; and the 1912 volume of poems Hymnen der Heiligen Burg. His work was also published and reviewed in the gay magazine Akademos published by Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen.

He was also a photographer, making photographic studies of boys for use in the creation of his paintings, but more often his own rejuvenated form can be seen as a subject of his art works.


  • "Leben und Lieben. Gedichte" (1895).
  • Irrlichter (1900, three theatreworks: Andrei, Erich and Narkissos).
  • "Klima und Dichtung. Ein Beitrag zur Psychophysik" (1907).
  • "Giovan Antonio — il Sodoma. Eine Seelen- und Kunststudie von Elisàr von Kupffer" (1908) in: Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen, edition IX.
  • Aino und Tio (1907).
  • "Was soll uns der Klarismus? — Nationale Kraft" (1912).
  • "Die Gotteslästerungen der Bibel und der Antike" (1912).
  • "Hymnen der Heiligen Burg" (1913).
  • "3000 Jahre Bolschewismus" (1919).
  • "Heldische Sicht und Froher Glaube" (1942).
  • "Aus einem wahrhaften Leben" (1943).

Further reading[edit]

  • Fabio Ricci: Ritter, Tod und Eros: Die Kunst Elisàr von Kupffers (1872-1942) (2007) basic scientific work about E. von Kupffer, 80 reproductions (ISBN 978-3-412-20064-0)
  • Cecile Beurdeley (Trans.: M. Taylor). L'Amour bleu (1978) (Reproduces many examples of Kupffer's murals at Locarno). ISBN 0-8478-0129-2
  • Graziano Mandozzi. Elisarion : un santuario per il Clarismo (1996) ISBN 88-900159-0-X
  • Who’s Who in Gay and Lesbian History from Antiquity to World War II. Routledge; London. 2002. ISBN 0-415-15983-0.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]