The life-size double statue of the princesses Luise and Friederike of Prussia, the so-called princess group, is the main work of Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850). The sculptor is considered the founder of the Berlin School of Sculpture, and it was this work that made him the epitome of German classicism. As the first statue of two 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 together with the original marble model (1797) for the first time ever.
The Nationalgalerie’s collection contains around 150 works, making it the world’s most comprehensive collection of sculptural works by Schadow, including both originals of the Princess Group. Since the last retro-spective almost 30 years ago, whose point of departure was the Alte Nationalgalerie, many new insights have been gained into the artist, his work, his workshop and his working methods. This is not least due to the large-scale research and restoration project of the plaster original of the princess group from Schadow’s workshop, the results of which are now being presented publicly for the first time.
Numerous international loans, including sculptures, 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 will be on display.
The exhibition is curated by Yvette Deseyve. A German-language and an English-language catalog 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 supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation, the Rudolf August Oetker Foundation and the Kulturstiftung der Länder. The Bern University of Applied Sciences and the Bern University of the Arts supported the project as cooperation partners.