Modern European Sculpture

ITALY, DENMARK, SWEDEN, GERMANY, AND RUSSIA.

INTRODUCTION. The emotional phase of Renaissance sculpture having expended itself in extravagant productions, it was natural that the nineteenth century should begin by a return to classic simplicity and severity. This movement was felt throughout Europe. Sculptors from all nations emigrated to Rome. Antique subjects now prevailed, and were executed in a more thoroughly classical spirit than during the period of the Renaissance. Religious themes were comparatively neglected. Sculpture was devoted mainly to secular purposes, for the private enjoyment of wealthy patrons.

But as the democratic character of modern institutions increased, a reaction against aristocratic and classic sculpture became prevalent. A desire was felt for subjects more national in character, and especially for the representation of men distinguished in literature, science, art, and history. In this stage sculpture assumed a post-classical, Christian, or roman-tic character. Much of the spirit of classicism was retained, though its form and substance had changed.

Finally, during the latter half of this century, the objective spirit so manifest in science and literature had also permeated plastic art. Mythological and romantic subjects largely gave way to the myriad actualities of modern life. The centre of inspiration for sculptors was shifted from Rome to Paris.

On the technical side, the old implements used in carving and modelling have remained the same as in earlier days, but mechanical devices have multiplied, by means of which the sculptor’s model may be reproduced in any material and on any scale. Hence the modern sculptor is usually content with fashioning his images in clay, leaving much of the execution of his work to mechanical reproduction by his work-men. He need not be a carver; he is often only a modeller. These mechanical methods have, on the one hand, brought the products of sculpture to the homes of the poor, but, on the other hand, they have frequently reacted disadvantageously upon the work of the artist himself.

ITALY : CLASSIC SCHOOL. The modern revival of classical sculpture in Italy began with Antonio Cancva (1757-1822). He received his first stimulus in sculpture from the patronage of Senator Giovanni Falieri in Venice. The success which followed his Orpheus and Eurydice, his AEsculapius, and his Daedalus and Icarus, secured for him a pension which enabled him, in 1779, to go to Rome. Here the influence of Raphael Mengs and of Winckelmann had already set the current in favor of classic simplicity and repose. His friendship for the English painter Gavin Hamilton and the French critic and art historian Quatremere de Quincy were of value in securing him recognition. His first important work in Rome, Theseus and the Minotaur, was hailed as the revival of the classic style. This brought him many commissions in Rome, among which were the tombs for the Popes Clement XIII. and XIV. In these monuments, and in his Amor embracing Psyche, now in the Louvre, he was open to the charge of being a softened Bernini. To refute this charge, he aimed at stronger and more masculine effects in his Hercules and Lichas, and in the statues of the boxers Kreugas and Damoxenes. But these works only showed that the criticism was well founded. His best vein lay in the direction of grace and beauty rather than of strength. The Perseus which he made to replace the Apollo of the Belvidere, and the Venus made to replace the Venus de’ Medici, which had been removed to Paris, are masterpieces of graceful beauty. We find something lacking in his busts and in the colossal statue of Napoleon, but are charmed by the statue of Napoleon’s sister Pauline Borghese. In relief sculpture he was less successful.

Following closely in his wake, although later a pupil of Thorwaldsen’s, was Pietro Tenerani (1798-1869). He was a prolific workman, highly honored and prized alike for his classical and Christian sculptures. Of the former class his Psyche with Pandora’s box, in the Palazzo Lenzoni, in Florence, has been much admired; of the latter, the most important are his large relief of the Deposition in the Capella Torlonia of the Lateran and the tomb of Duchess Lante in S. Maria sopra Minerva.

ROMANTIC SCHOOL. The influence of Canova even in Italy was met by the counter-influences of the romantic and naturalistic school. Among the romanticists, who aimed at infusing the classic style with naturalism, may be counted Stefano Ricci, Bartolini, Pampaloni, and Pio Fedi. Stefano Ricci, praised by Canova, was the author of many monuments, especially in Arezzo, and in S. Maria Novella and S. Croce in Florence. Somewhat further removed from Canova was Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850). His early studies in Paris gave him a bias toward naturalism. His principles were the imitation of nature and a return to simplicity; but he could not free himself altogether from the classic style, as we may see from his group representing Charity, in the Pitti, or from his Pyrrhus throwing Astyanax from the Walls of Troy. Luigi Pampaloni (1791-1847), best known from his statues of children, produced also many larger works, among which may be mentioned the tomb of Lazzaro Papi in S. Frediano at Lucca and the colossal statue of Pietro Leopoldo in the Piazza di S. Caterina at Pisa. Pio Fedi, born in 1815, more characteristically Italian in his work, is known by his graceful but emotional group of the Rape of Polyxena in the Loggia dei Lanzi.

REALISTIC SCHOOL. The naturalistic tendency, weaker in Italy than in the north of Europe, has been exemplified in the works of Dupre, Vela, and Monteverde. Giovanni Dupre (1817-1882), a follower of Bartolini, emphasized the leaning toward naturalism found in the work of his master. He attracted attention first by his statues of Cain and Abel in the Pitti and later by a Michelangelesque Pieta at Siena. In his Beatrice Portinari, in the statue of Giotto at the Uffizi, and in the Cavour monument at Turin his realism is still more emphatic. Vincenzo Vela (1822-1891), even more modern in sentiment and of great technical ability, shows himself to have been a dramatic sculptor in such works as his Spartacus and his Dying Napoleon, but he was equally successful in ideal works, as, for example, his Primavera. A rising sculptor of considerable ability and dramatic power at the present time is Ettore Ximenes, from whom we may expect works of monumental importance. But the average Italian sculpture of to-day is devoted to domestic subjects of trivial though graceful character. It evinces the spirit of a Canova no longer occupied with gods and heroes, but roaming about in search of grace and charm in modern life.

DENMARK AND SWEDEN. Among the earliest of the nations of Northern Europe to participate in the modern classic revival were Denmark and Sweden. Danish sculpture received an impulse in this direction from a Frenchman, T. F. J. Saly, who be-came director of the Academy at Copenhagen. His successors, Johannes Wiedewelt and Weidenhaupt, drew their inspiration from Paris and from Rome ; but a stronger representation of the classic spirit was found in Bertel Thorwaldsen (1770-1844). He was a more thorough classicist than Canova, for in Canova there still survived something of the spirit of Bernini, whereas Thorwaldsen was not embarrassed by such traditions. His arrival in Rome was to him the opening of a new life. ” I was born on the 8th of March, 1797,” he used to say; ” before then I did not exist.” In Rome he copied ancient statues and absorbed the spirit of classic sculpture. His first statue of importance, the Jason, received ready recognition from the neo-classicists. Canova said of it : ” This work of the Danish youth exhibits a new and grand style.” An English banker, Sir Thomas Hope, ordered it executed in marble. German artists, like Carstens, and scholars, like Zoega, were helpful friends; and pupils from all nations flocked to his studio. In the work of these early years he treated by preference graceful Praxitelean subjects, such as Adonis, Psyche, Venus, Hebe.

In 1812 Napoleon was expected in Rome, and Thorwaldsen was employed to make the frieze for one of the most spacious halls of the Quirinal Palace. Taking the work of Pheidias as his model, he produced a magnificent frieze representing the entrance of Alexander into Babylon. His eminent success in this made him known among the Romans as the ” patriarca del basso-rilievo.” During the decade which followed, Thorwaldsen was at the height of his powers. To this period belong his Achilles and Priam, Night and Morning (1815), The Shepherd Boy (1817), and the Mercury (1818). He now restored for Prince Louis of Bavaria the archaic sculptures from AEgina, and occasionally, as in his statue of Hope, adopted the conventions of archaic sculpture.

His success in Rome led the King of Denmark to urge his return to Copenhagen. Here he went several times, and here he died in 1844. The demand made upon him in Copenhagen was chiefly for religious sculptures. In the Frue Kirche is his Christ and the Twelve Apostles, the Angel of Baptism, and several reliefs, while in the pediment over the entrance is his terracotta group of the Preaching of John the Baptist.

The influence of Thorwaldsen was perpetuated in his own country by H. W. Bissen (1798-1868), who early manifested the romantic tendency for subjects from Norse instead of Greek mythology. In his later years he caught the naturalistic spirit of modern days, and was strong in portraiture. Of the living sculptors of Norway, J. A. Jerichau is a close follower of Thorwaldsen.

SWEDEN. In Sweden, also, classic influences were introduced by French sculptors. Here the younger Bouchardon (d. 1762) and Larcheveque (d. 1778) gave the direction to Swedish sculpture in the last century. The most distinguished Swedish classicist was J. T. Sergell (1736-1813). He spent twelve years in Rome, and then returned to Stockholm. The German sculptor Schadow says of him : ” He is less widely known than Thorwaldsen, but stands equally high in the estimation of connoisseurs.” His successor Fogelberg was a romanticist, and made famous statues of Odin, Thor, and Balder.

GERMANY. In Germany the Rococo style had become so thoroughly established that pictorial methods prevailed over the sculptural, and the eighteenth century left German sculpture at a low ebb. In the revival of the early nineteenth century, Germany looked to Italy for instruction, and her most distinguished’sculptorswent to Rome. But the Protestant German nature was too independent to submit to Catholic Italy. As the centre of power shifted to Berlin, the patriotic soon replaced the classic style. At the end of the Iast century a school of sculptors at Stuttgart, headed by Dannecker and Scheffauer, manifested a strong classic spirit. Johann Hein-rich Dannecker (1758–1841) studied first in Paris under Pajou, then went to Rome, and came under the influence of Canova. His works are characterized by grace and a certain measure of refinement. He is best known by his Ariadne and the Panther, at Frankfort. As a sculptor of Christian subjects he was less successful. His associate P. J. Scheffauer (1756–1808) helped him to establish the classic style in Stuttgart.

Stronger and more representative were the schools at Berlin under the leadership of Schadow and Rauch, at Dresden under Hahnel and Schilling, and at Munich under Schwanthaler. The school of Berlin has been chiefly historical and realistic in tendency, while Munich has stood for romanticism.

BERLIN SCHOOL. Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764–1850) received his first artistic impulses from Tassaert, a Flemish sculptor established in Berlin. In 1785 he went to Rome, where he was especially attracted by ancient historical sculpture. On the death of Frederick the Great he proposed making of him an equestrian statue in Roman costume, having in mind doubtless the figure of Marcus Aurelius of the Capitol ; but when he made the statue later, for Stettin, it was in the costume of the period. His statue of Leopold of Dessau marks the transition from the classic to the patriotic style. The figure of Leopold is clad in the regimentals of the period, but the reliefs on the pedestal are costumed in classic style. When asked by Queen Louise why he had done this, he replied : ” The poets and artists would all make an outcry against the Prussian costume.” But she voiced a deeper German feeling when she answered : ” I do not understand why any-one should object. If my husband wanted Greek and Roman generals, well and good ; but he wants Prussians. How, then, are they to be distinguished ? ” Although the sculptor of many portraits, Schadow was at his best when an ideal element was involved, as in his Quadriga of Victory over the Brandenburger Thor at Berlin, and in his Nymph awaking out of Sleep. Of the pupils of Schadow, Christian Friedrich Tieck (1776–1851) spent fourteen years in Rome, and on his return adorned the Royal Theatre of Berlin with dramatic sculptures of mythological character. Rudolph Schadow (1786–1822), the eldest son of Johann Gottfried Schadow, turned his attention to the ideal genre and produced works of lyric character.

The realistic tendency which seemed forced in the works of Schadow became strong and natural in the works of Christian Daniel Rauch (1777-1857). He holds the highest rank among the historical sculptors of Germany. The inspiration he received from the ancient sculptures of Rome corrected and improved his sense of form, without subjecting his spirit. Even German romanticism did not divert him from strictly historical treatment. His monumental works were thoroughly national, but conceived with an attentive regard for plastic beauty. His monument of Queen Louise at the Mausoleum at Charlottenburg is a living portrait, and at the same time an ideal of womanhood. Rauch’s ideals of manhood were expressed in his statues of Generals Scharnhorst and Bulow near the guard-house in Berlin, and in the heroic Albrecht Darer at Nuremberg. His monumental works were restful and dignified, with the exception of the Blucher monument at Breslau, which was made after a design by Schadow. His seated statue of Maximilian I. at Munich is a fine example of his power. More important still is the statue of Frederick the Great at Berlin, which occupied his attention during the years from 1839 to 1851. In dignity, harmony, and beauty of composition this monument marks the highest point reached by German sculpture.

Of his pupils and followers in Berlin may be mentioned Drake, Blaser, Schievelbein, and Kiss. Friedrich Drake (b. 18o5) has been a close follower of the spirit of Rauch, as, for example, in his equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I. at Cologne, and in his statues of Rauch and Schinkel at Berlin. Gustav Blaser (1813–1874) of Cologne represented the same tendency. His Francke monument at Magdeburg is to be classed with the best of modern German portrait statues. Friedrich Hermann Schievelbein (1817—1867) sculptured the group on the palace bridge at Berlin rep-resenting Pallas instructing a youth in the use of the spear. His frieze of the Destruction of Pompeii in the Greek court of the New Museum is dramatic in character and seems to have been inspired by the frieze of the Apollo Temple at Phigaleia. August Kiss (1804—1865), especially celebrated for his animals in bronze, represented the active and emotional side of the school. His best work is the Mounted Amazon fighting a Tiger, on the steps of the Old Museum at Berlin.

DRESDEN SCHOOL. The Dresden school, intermediate between that of Berlin and of Munich, represents a tendency partially historic and partially romantic. Ernst Friedrich August Rietschel (1804—1861) was a pupil of Rauch, then a student at Rome. His monument of King Friedrich August in the Zwinger at Dresden is based upon Rauch’s statue of Maximilian I. ; and his statue of Lessing at Brunswick is an excellent example of the refined portraiture of the same school. The spirit of romanticism appears in his Luther monument at Worms. He excelled in works where religious feeling was involved, as in the Pieta in the Friedenskirche at Potsdam. Ernst Hahnel (b. 1811) studied in Italy, then at Munich. His works represent the transition from the classical to the romantic style. To the former class belongs his Bacchus frieze on the upper portion of the Dresden Theatre ; to the latter his monument to Beethoven at Bonn, with its reliefs in the style of Cornelius and Overbeck. Johannes Schilling (b. 1828) followed in the line of Hahnel. His group of the Night, on the Bruhl Terrace at Dresden, shows the influence of his Roman training, but his colossal figure of Germania at Niederwald is a thoroughly national, ” prachtvolles ” monument, not altogether free from the Rococo spirit of the earlier Dresden school.

THE MUNICH SCHOOL of the early nineteenth century represented romanticism tempered by the classic style. Konrad Eberhard (1768-1859) studied in Rome, and on his return gave up the production of Muses, Fauns, and Dianas for the decoration of portals and making of statues in the mediaeval style. He became a religious fanatic. Ludwig Schwanthaler (1802-1848), in spite of repeated visits to Rome and the responses he frequently made to the demand for classic themes, was at his best in the treatment of national subjects, such as the twelve gilded bronze figures of Bavarian kings for the throne-room of the Konigsbau, the colossal figure of Bavaria in front of the Ruhmeshalle, and the Hermann Battle in one of the pediments of the Walhalla near Regensburg.

In this last half of the nineteenth century German sculpture has vibrated between the romantic and the naturalistic schools. Adolph Hildebrand, of Jena, in his Shepherd Boy aimed at more naturalistic effect than did Thorwaldsen in his Shepherd and the Dog. Naturalism is flourishing in the Berlin school, and is best exemplified in the works of Reinhold Begas, whose genre studies are full of life and whose portraits are excellent. In Munich, Caspar Zumbusch (b. 1830, the sculptor of the Maximilian II. monument and the statue of Count Rumford, represents the realistic tendency, while Conrad Knoll, Anton Hess, and others continue to work in the romantic field.

RUSSIA. In Russia the absence of marble, the severity of the climate, the interdict of the church against sculpture in the round, and of the state against the use of bronze except for images of the sovereign and high officials, retarded the progress of sculpture. Russian sculpture is, therefore, of very recent growth, and almost exclusively confined to small bronzes. These, however, furnish characteristic and interesting pictures of contemporary life.

The best known sculptors of Russia are Lancere and Lieberich, though excellent work has been done by Samonoff, Posene, Naps, Gratchoff, Kamensky, and Genzburg.

Lancere’s bronzes are full of spirited action and modelled with extreme attention to details. His subjects, whether foreign studies, such as his Arab Fantasia, his Arab with the Lion’s Cub, A Donkey Driver, An Arab Horseman, or more thoroughly Russian, as his Cossack Soldiers watering their Horses, his Standard Bearer, and his Opritchnike (Freebooter) are sympathetic pictures of modern Oriental and Russian life with which the horse is almost invariably associated.

Lieberich (b. 1828) is a skilful and varied sculptor of animals. His Wolf Chase, Hare Hunt, Falconer, Fight with a Bear, Samoyed and Reindeer Team, are full of action and life, and evince minute study of details.

Samonoff, Posene, and Naps have devoted themselves to genre views of peasant life, such as a Cossack lighting his Pipe, Emigrants to the Amoor, etc. Gratchoff is extremely clever in portraying types of Russian character; Feodor Kamensky has introduced into his works a touch of Italian grace ; and Genzburg, in his original and expressive Boy Bathing, has proved himself a sculptor of considerable merit.

EXTANT MONUMENTS. The products of modern sculpture are distributed in the churches, cemeteries, public squares and parks, civic buildings, museums, libraries, historical societies and private collections. Occasionally specific collections are made, as in the Thorwaldsen Museum at Copenhagen ; the Rauch Museum, Berlin ; the Rietschel, and the Schilling Museums, Dresden ; and the Schwanthaler Museum, Munich.