Biedermeier refers to the period from the end of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the beginning of the bourgeois revolution in 1848 in the states of the German Confederation. In political history, the term Biedermeier is linked to the concept of the Restoration, which refers to the development of state policy after the end of the Napoleonic era and the Congress of Vienna. The term is significant as an epochal designation in cultural history, but as such it is hardly clearly contoured, since many associations with Biedermeier originate from the later 19th century and must often be regarded as (re)projected attributions. The term Vormärz refers to the opposing movement belonging to the same period, which sought political revolutionary change and found expression in literary figures such as Georg Büchner and Heinrich Heine, among others.
The term Biedermeier refers on the one hand to the bourgeoisie's own culture and art that emerged during this period, for example in domestic music, interior design and also in clothing fashion, and on the other hand to the literature of the time, which is often labelled "homely" or "conservative". The flight into the idyll and the private sphere is considered typical.
The visual arts of the Biedermeier period were dominated by genre and landscape painting, but also by portraiture. Religious and historical motifs were almost completely absent. The style was realistic, the pictures often resembled a photographic image. The model was Dutch painting of the 17th century. However, the desired result was a pseudo-realism, for reality was gladly idealised and exaggerated; sometimes the painting overlapped with late Romanticism. The watercolour technique reached a very high level; lithography was now increasingly used for book illustrations. The painters Moritz von Schwind, Friedrich Gauermann, Eduard Gaertner, the early work of Adolph Menzel, Ludwig Richter, Carl Spitzweg, Josef Kriehuber, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Peter Fendi and Joseph Anton Koch are regarded as visual artists of the Biedermeier period. Richter was in particular demand as an illustrator, illustrating around 150 books. A special feature of the Biedermeier period were the so-called room paintings, detailed depictions of individual living rooms. In glass and porcelain painting, the era is associated with the house painters Samuel Mohn and Anton Kothgasser. View glass is also typical of this period.