The towers of the Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom on Gendarmenmarkt continue to shape the Berlin cityscape even today. Their elaborate architectural sculptures, featuring scenes from the life of Christ, the saints and apostles, as well as allegories of the Virtues, were designed in the 1780s by two of the most prominent artists working in Berlin in the age of Frederick the Great. Both also served as directors of Berlin’s academy of art: Christian Bernhard Rode (1725-1797) and Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki (1726-1801).
Chodowiecki’s delicately executed red-chalk designs for the sculptures entered the Akademie der Künste’s collection in the early 1900s. It was thought they had been lost in the war, but they recently resurfaced and were returned to the collection last year. After being restored, they are now going on show for the first time alongside Rode’s lively pen-and-ink drawings, also taken from the Akademie der Künste’s collection, in a small one-room show at the Alte Nationalgalerie.
The juxtaposition of the two work groups illustrates the dialogical interplay between the sculptural designs for the two cathedrals on the Berlin square. High-calibre loans, including original fragments of the architectural sculpture, vividly capture the creative process leading from drawing to finished sculpture, as well as the history of the square itself.
A richly illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, released in the series 'akademiefenster’ and featuring in-depth essays that explore the works of art, the artists, and the history of the square.
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