MÜLLER, Niklas

MÜLLER, Niklas (Nikolaus). Mainz 6.5.1770 (not 14.5.) — Mainz 14.6.1851. Germain Painter and Scholar. Studies at Mainz University, graduated 1788. Worked as painter, accepted with enthusiasm the ideas of French Revolution. In 1793-98 studies in Paris, now became interested in India. Back in Mainz worked as tutor and from 1802 as schoolteacher. From 1805 also Conservator of the Town Collection of Paintings, and kept both positions also when Mainz was annexed to Hessen in 1814. Although committing many serious errors, with his “Brahmantike” this autodidact scholar was capable of evaluating Indian art much better than his prejudiced contemporaries.

Publications: Glauben, Wissen und Kunst der alten Hindus in ursprünglicher Gestalt und im Gewande der Symbolik, mit vergleichenden Seitenblicken auf die Symbolmythe der berühmteren Völker der alten Welt, mit hierher gehörigen Literatur und linguistik. 1. 30+631 p. Mainz 1822, repr. Leipzig 1968 (the 2nd vol. never appeared).

Mithras. Eine vergleichende Uebersicht der berühmteren mithr. Denkmäler und Erklärung des Ursprungs … ihrer Symbole. Mainz 1831.

Die sieben letzten Kurfürsten von Mainz. 1846; poetry and dramas.

Sources: *H. Kucharski, “N.M. – erster Mittler indischer Kunst in Deutschland”, Buddhist Yearly 1966, 9-18; H. Kucharski, “Nachwort” in the 1968 edition of Müller’s book, i-ix; *E. Leser, A.D.B. 22, 1885, 655; G. Rösch, N.D.B. 18, 1997, 460f.; German Wikipedia with portrait.

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