A New Exhibition of Schadow’s Princess Group in the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once adoringly described sisters the Luise and Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as “heavenly visions, whose impression upon me will never be effaced”. Sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow erected a monument to their elegance and grace, creating an icon of European classicism with his double sculpted portrait of the “Crown Princess Luise of Prussia and her Sister Princess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz”.
The statue of these two figures, which has come to be known under the abbreviated title Princess Group, is one of the highlights of the Alte Nationalgalerie’s collection (along with Caspar David Friedrich’s Monk by the Sea). The marble version, which was completed in 1797, currently welcomes visitors as they enter the main museum building on the Museumsinsel, while the plaster replica of the statue has drawn crowds to the permanent sculpture exhibition in the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche for decades.
The original plaster cast has a particular significance within both the broader context of Schadow’s oeuvre and that of 19th-century sculpture: it is here that not only the artist’s creative signature is at its most palpable, but also the thrilling genesis of the double-figure statue. The fragile plaster cast has been relocated on several occasions throughout the centuries, causing it to sustain severe damage in the process.
Thanks to the generous support of the Rudolf-August Oetker-Stiftung, the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, and the Kulturstiftung der Länder, the original plaster cast was able to be successfully restored in an unprecedented research and restoration project.
After the original plaster cast and the marble version of the statue were shown side-by-side for the first time in the exhibition Embracing Forms: Johann Gottfried Schadow, the Princess Group will now be newly exhibited as part of the permanent sculpture exhibition in the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche, in conjunction with a special presentation focussing on its restoration. Admission is free.
A special presentation by the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin