Through hardships to the stars

Diefenbach Per aspera ad astraThrough hardships to the stars“, “A rough road leads to the stars” or “To the stars through difficulties“. These three sayings are translations of the Latin phrase: “Per Aspera ad Astra”. This is also the title of a painting by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, which is held within the Stadtmuseum, Hadamar  collection.

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach  was born on February 21, 1851, in Hadamar, in the Duchy of Nassau. Karl was a German painter, social reformer, and a pioneer of nudism and the peace movement. His ideas included life in harmony with nature and rejection of monogamy, turning away from any religion (although he was a follower of theosophy). Like George Bernard Shaw, he was a vegetarian.  After running a commune in Vienna for many years he moved to Capri, Italy where he lived until his death (100 years ago) on December 15, 1913.  Since 1974, there is a museum of his works in Certosa di San Giacomo on Capri.

  • The phrase, “Per Aspera ad Astra” is reputed to be said by the actor Rip Torn  to David Bowie in the film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”
  • It is also inscribed on a plaque in remembrance of the astronauts of Apollo 1 at the launch site where they perished.

I dedicate the following translation of Per Aspera ad Astra – “To the stars through difficulties” to our dear family friend Claire who recently and unexpectedly left us. RIP.

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