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A History of Art for Beginners and Students

LUDWIG SCHWANTHALER 1802 1848 studied much in Rome


ERNST RIETSCHEL (1804-1860) was a gifted pupil of Rauch. After spending some time in Rome he settled in Dresden, and executed the statue of Friederich August of Saxony, for the Zwingerhof, when but twenty-seven years old. His chief excellence was in portrait statues, and those of Lessing and Luther are remarkable for their powerful expression of the intellectual and moral force of those men. His religious subjects were full of deep feeling, and his lighter works have a charming grace about them.

LUDWIG SCHWANTHALER (1802-1848) studied much in Rome, and was as devoted to the antique as was Thorwaldsen. He executed many works in Munich, the principal ones being the interior decoration of the Glyptothek; also that of the Koenigsbau and two groups for the Walhalla. A prominent work by this master is the bronze statue of Bavaria, which is fifty-four feet high and stands in front of the Ruhmeshalle. He also made twelve gilt-bronze statues of Bavarian sovereigns. Schwanthaler had remarkable powers of invention and a fruitful imagination; in these points he ranks with the first of modern sculptors; but his works rarely rise above what we call decorative art, and in spite of his excellent gifts he lacked the power to arouse any enthusiasm for his statues.

There are many other names that might be mentioned in connection with modern sculpture in Germany. Nowhere have the monuments and portrait statues and busts reached a higher excellence than in what we may call, in general terms, the Berlin school. Profound attention has been given to the proper reproduction of the individual characters of its subjects, while the art has not been allowed to sink into caricature or commonplaceness. Nowhere does the traveller better appreciate the art of our own day than in the sculpture of Germany.

But there are exceptions to this rule; some such artists as THEODORE KALIDE and LUDWIG WICHMANN are wanting in the serious qualities of Schadow, Rauch, and their followers, and sometimes fall into a coarse realism; but in spite of this, the revival of love for the antique, which began with Canova and his time, has borne rich fruit in the works of modern German sculptors.

In France the spirit of modern sculpture has been largely that of the severe classic style, and it has shown many of the same qualities that we have seen in modern German sculpture; but the different characteristics of the two nations have had their influence here as in everything else. In France the artist has aimed at a fine effect--flowing outline and dazzling representations of dramatic motives--far more than the northern sculptors have done. There is less thought and depth of feeling, more outward attraction and striking effect. The classic taste which asserted itself in the time of Canova was adopted in France, but in a French manner; and one of the earliest artists who showed its effects was FRANCOIS JOSEPH BOSIO (1769-1845), who was much honored. He was made a member of the Institute of France and of the Royal Academy of Berlin: he was chief sculptor to the King of France, and executed many public works. He made many portrait busts of the royal family and other prominent persons, but his chief works were the reliefs on the column of the Place Vendome, the Chariot on the arch of the Place du Carrousel, the monument to the Countess Demidoff, and statues of mythological heroes and heroines. For the Chapelle Expiatoire, Bosio executed a group representing Louis XVII. receiving comfort from an angel; the design is not as good as in some of his classic works, but the conception is pure and noble.

[Illustration: FIG. 122.--NYMPH. _By Bosio._]

JAMES PRADIER (1790-1832), though born in Geneva, was essentially a French sculptor, and excelled the artists of his day in his representations of feminine beauty. His masterpiece is a fountain at Nimes, in which the figures are fine and the drapery noble and distinct in treatment. The serious and comic Muses of the Fountain Moliere are excellent works. He made several separate statues which are well known; his Psyche has a butterfly poised on the upper part of the arm; Atalanta is fastening her sandals; Sappho is in despair. His Niobe group showed his power to represent bold action, and his Prometheus chained, erected in the garden of the Tuileries, is grand and spirited.


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