Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim (1729–81), German playwright, critic, and philosopher. He rejected French classicism and pioneered German bourgeois tragedy with Miss Sara Sampson (1755). He also wrote the influential comedy Minna von Barnhelm (1763), the prose tragedy Emilia Galotti (1772), and the dramatic poem Nathan the Wise (1779). His treatise Laokoön (1766) critically contrasted the natures of poetry and painting.