Schinkel's achievements as an architect are undisputed. But Schinkel was much more-a universal artist, who achieved similar great feats as a draughtsman, painter, set designer, decorator and designer. Even in his own day, contemporaries drew comparisons between him and the artistic heroes of the Renaissance, Michelangelo and Raphael. Far less well known by comparison, however, is Schinkel the 'sculptor', who, as we know from record, never actually moulded anything or took up the chisel himself, but nevertheless gave clear expression to his ideas on sculpture in designs drawn on paper. It is this aspect of Schinkel we are about to discover.
After his journey to Italy, in 1805, Schinkel came to the public's attention, not, as would be expected, as an architect, but as a sculptor, with his design for a memorial to Luther. All further construction plans for memorials were shattered with the defeat of Prussia at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. In fact there was a dearth in all major construction projects, until Schinkel was finally commissioned in 1816 to build the Neue Wache on Berlin's Unten den Linden, for which he not only designed the building itself but also the small winged goddesses of victory and the relief in the gable. After this Schinkel repeatedly presented sculptors with sketches and drawings for statues, gable reliefs and other plastic works for them to copy. It is these works on paper that form the subject of today's exhibition, which thanks to around three-dozen drawings, from large-scale watercolours to small, intimate sketches, provides a surprising insight into this aspect of Schinkel's work that has been largely disregarded until now.
The exhibition is part of a wider, ongoing project that will culminate in the major exhibition 'Karl Friedrich Schinkel. History and Poetry', which will go on show at Kulturforum before travelling to the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich.
A catalogue is due for release to accompany the exhibition.
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