The Gipsformerei: The Great Elector sets off for Mexico

Gipsformerei - Kunstmanufaktur seit 1819

The SMB’s Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop) recently completed one of its largest-ever commissions – a full-size replica of Andreas Schlüter’s equestrian statue of Frederick William of Brandenburg, the ‘Great Elector’.  

Last Tuesday, the workshop’s two managers, Thomas Schelper and Stefan Kramer, officially announced the completion of a project on which they and their team have been working intensively for the last 14 months: a complete, full-size replica of the equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg. The Great Elector himself commissioned the original in 1696 from Andreas Schlüter. It is one of the largest objects in the Gipsformerei’s catalogue. The order for a replica was placed in 2015 by Mexico’s Museo Internacional del Barroco.

The moulds of the monumental sculpture have been in the possession of the Gipsformerei since 1902, when they were made directly from the bronze original that today stands in front of Schloss Charlottenburg. Since that date they have been used only three times: firstly, in 1904, for the electrotype sculpture which greets visitors in the foyer of the Bode-Museum, secondly in the 1920s, when a cast was made for the Busch-Reisinger Museum, near Boston, which specialises in German art and, most recently, for the present commission from the International Museum of the Baroque in Mexico. Several small busts and other objects have been ordered as well as this masterpiece.

The mould of the Great Elector is made up of a total of 20 separate sections taken from different areas of the sculpture, which themselves consist of up to 100 individual components. It is the Gipsformerei’s most expensive replica so far and one of the largest ever to have been made here.