The life-size double statue of Princesses Luise and Friederike of Prussia, the so-called Princess Group, is the major work of Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850). The sculptor is regarded as the founder of the Berlin school of female sculpture and it is precisely with this work that he became the epitome of German classicism. As the first statue of female historical figures, the sculpture group made art history and is still a highlight for visitors to Berlin from all over the world. The first retrospective in around 30 years presents Schadow’s main sculptural, graphic and art-theoretical works in eleven chapters. After extensive restoration, the original plaster model (1795) of the princess group will be exhibited for the first time ever together with the original in marble (1797).
Image above: Johann Gottfried Schadow, Self-portrait, c. 1791, terracotta, 41 x 22 x 23 cm, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie / Andres Kilger
The collection of the Nationalgalerie contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of sculptural works by Shadov, with around 150 works, including both originals of the Princess Group. Since the last retrospective almost 30 years ago, whose point of departure was the Alte Nationalgalerie, many new insights into the artist, his work, the workshop and working methods have become known. This is not least due to the large-scale research and restoration project of the plaster original of the Princess Group from Shadow’s workshop, the results of which are now being presented publicly for the first time.
Numerous international loans, including sculptural works, paintings and graphic works as well as art theoretical writings offer insights into the creation and reception of the princess group. Works by Schadow’s contemporaries such as Gainsborough, Tischbein, Weitsch, Chodowiecki and Begas are on display.
The exhibition is curated by Yvette Deseyve. A German-language and an English-language catalogue will be published.
The exhibition is made possible by the Friends of the National Gallery, the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and the Kulturstiftung der Länder. The three-year restoration project of the original plaster model of the princess group was funded by the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation, the Rudolf-August Oetker Foundation and the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States. The Bern University of Applied Sciences and the Bern University of the Arts supported the project as cooperation partners.