Gods of Greece
The cartoons by Peter Cornelius for the Glyptothek in Munich

09.03.2005 to 05.06.2005

Alte Nationalgalerie

Thanks to the generous initiative of the Munich 'Haus der Kunst' it is possible for the first time in 70 years to exhibit the cartoons of the mythological ceiling and wall paintings of the Glyptothek in Munich, and thus one of the major works of the academic painter and draughtsman Peter Cornelius, who had a great influence on the art of the 19th century.

In preparation for his paintings or frescoes Cornelius drew the cartoons on the scale 1:1. Even at that time they were treated as independent works of art, on display in various exhibitions, and after the death of the artist they were shown in the two main halls of the middle storey of the National Gallery. For the drawings, which are up to 4.5 x 8.5m, Cornelius mostly used coal, but also pencil and quill, and after fixing them he attached them to canvas.

While 42 of the initially 48 Glyptothek cartoons have been conserved to this day, the subsequent frescos were not preserved during the reconstruction of the Glyptothek after the Second World War. After almost 100 years of oblivion in the storages of the National Gallery in Berlin the cartoons of Cornelius have now been restored and put on display to the public. For the National Gallery, the exhibition's destination after its showing in Munich, it is a chance to rediscover the oeuvre of the one of the most significant artists working when the museum opened, and to show it in the halls that were originally reserved for Cornelius alone.