They are absorbed in their respective occupations and do not seem to notice his presence. Cupid ponders to whom he will present the wreath of flowers in his hand. This composition of the four marble sculptures evokes associations with the story of the "Judgment of Paris" from Greek mythology. The Trojan king's son Paris was commissioned by Zeus, the father of the gods, to decide who was the most beautiful among the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.
Here, however, it is adolescents, delicately observed, whose attitudes capture everyday situations: the young "Cupid," the "Girl with Doves" ("Innocence"), the "Sandal Binder," and the "Spinner." King Frederick William III of Prussia had purchased the four sculptures created by Ridolfo Schadow in Rome. Three stood in the Royal Palace (Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin), the fourth was placed in the Berlin Palace. Thus, it is only with this presentation that the original intention of the sculptor, who wanted all four figures to appear in relation to each other, is fulfilled.
What real background could have inspired the early deceased Ridolfo Schadow?
The sculptor, who lived in the Casa Buti, a kind of artists' boarding house in Rome, not only met fellow artists here, such as Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) and Antonio Canova (1757-1822), but also got to know the three daughters of the Buti house. They were probably the models for the graceful genre scenes that enjoyed great popularity at the time. The small show informs about the origin, interpretation and aftermath of the four figures.
On the SPSG website, visitors can learn additional details about Ridolfo Schadow's creative work and living situation in Rome, as well as about other works that his father and teacher, the famous Berlin sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850), provided to the Prussian ruling family.
He will also receive a great deal of attention in 2022:
The Alte Nationalgalerie SMB, the Gipsformerei SMB, the Schadow-Gesellschaft and the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin will pay tribute to Johann Gottfried Schadow in their own presentations.