1902 Encyclopedia > Sculpture > German Sculpture - From the 16th Century Onwards.

Sculpture
(Part 20)




German Sculpture - From the 16th Century Onwards.

In the latter part of the 16th century the influence of the later Italian Renaissance becomes very apparent, and many elaborate works in bronze were produced, especially at Augsburg, where Hubert Gerhard cast the fine "Augustus fountain" in 1593, and Adrian de Vries made the "Hercules fountain "in 1599 ; both were influenced by the style of Giovanni di Bologna, as shown in his magnificent fountain at Bologna.

In the following century Andreas Schlüter of Hamburg (b. about 1662) produced smaller bronze reliefs and accessories of great merit. His colossal statue of Frederick III. on the bridge at Berlin is less successful. On the whole the 17th and 18th centuries in Germany, as in England, were periods of great decadence in the plastic art; little of merit was produced, except some portrait figures. In the second half of the 18th century there was a strong revival in sculpture, especially in the classic style ; and since then Germany has produced an immense quantity of large and pretentious sculpture, mostly dull in design and second-rate in execution. Johann Gottfried of Berlin (1764-1850) finished a number of portrait figures, some of which are ably modelled, as did also Friedrich Tieck (1776-1851) and Christian Rauch (1777-1857); the works of Rauch are, however, mostly weak and sentimental in style, as, for example, his recumbent statue of Queen Louisa at Charlottenburg (1813) and his statues of Generals Biilow and Scharnhorst at Berlin. Friedrich Drake was the ablest of Rauch's pupils, but he lived at a very unhappy period for the sculptor's art. His chief work is perhaps the colosial bronze equestrian statue of King William of Prussia at Cologne. Albert Wolff was a sculptor of more ability; he executed the equestrian por-trait of King Ernest Augustus at Hanover, and a Horse-man attacked by a Lion now in the Berlin Museum. Augustus Kiss (1802-1865) produced the companion group to this, the celebrated Amazon and Panther in bronze, as well as the fine group of St George and the Dragon in a courtyard of the royal palace at Berlin. The St George and his horse are of bronze; the dragon is formed of gilt plates of hammered iron. Kiss worked only in metal. The bad taste of the first half of the present century is strongly shown by many of the works of Theodore Kalide, whose Bacchanal sprawling on a Panther's Back is a marvel of awkwardness of pose and absence of any feeling for beauty. Rietschel was perhaps the best German sculptor of this period, and produced work superior to that of his contemporaries, such as Haagen, Wichmann, Fischer, and Hiedel. Some revival of a better style is shown in some sculpture, especially reliefs, by Hahnel, whose chief works are at Dresden. Sch wan thaler (1802-1848), who was largely patronized by King Louis of Bavaria, studied at Rome and was at first a feeble imitator of antique classic art, but later in life he developed a more romantic and pseudo-mediaeval style. By him are a large number of reliefs and statues in the Glyptothek at Munich and in the Walhalla, also the colossal but feeble bronze statue of Bavaria, in point of size one of the most ambitious works of modern times. Since the beginning of the second half of the century the sculpture of Germany has made visible progress, and several living artists have produced works of merit and originality, far superior to the feeble imita-tions of classic art which for nearly a century destroyed all possible vigour and individuality in the plastic pro-ductions of most European countries.





Footnotes

566-1 In size, but not in merit, this enormous statue has recently been surpassed by the figure of America made in Paris and now (1886) being erected as a beacon at the entrance to the harbour of New York City.

566-2 On German sculpture see Foerster, Denkmale deutscher Baukunst, Leipsic, 1855; Wanderer, Adam Kraft and his School, Nuremberg, 1868 ; Rabe, Das Grabmal des J. von Brandenburg . . . von P. Vischer, Berlin, 1843 ; Reindel, Vischer's Shrine of St Sebaldus, Nuremberg, 1855 ; Lübke, Hist. of Sculpt., Eng. trans., London, 1872.





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