Raised in a pietistic family, Novalis (real name Freiherr Friedrich von Hardenberg) initially studied law, mathematics and philosophy and later mining sciences. Novalis is seen as one of the central representatives of German Romantic poetry (Hymnen an die Nacht, 1800; Geistliche Lieder, 1802), but also left significant works of prose (Heinrich von Ofterdingen, 1802). His essay Die Christenheit oder Europa (1799) set out his vision of a united Christian Europe in which a renewed Church creates eternal peace. The majority of his writings were published posthumously. Novalis was re-discovered by the French symbolists.
Friedrich Eduard Eichens (1804–1877), Novalis (Freiherr Friedrich von Hardenberg; 1772–1801), steel engraving, 18 x 14 cm, 1845, source: Hentzen, Alfred / Holst, Niels von: Die großen Deutschen im Bilde, Berlin 1936, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Novalis2.jpg, public domain.,