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It was in Germany that not so long ago the oldest sculpture in Europe was found. This female figure is 5 millennia older than the numerous Venus of the Paleolithic. Therefore, Germany can be called the birthplace of the art of sculpture in the Old World.
Of the earliest sculptures of medieval Germany, the relief from Hornhausen (a German warrior on horseback, the 7th century) and the crucifix of the Hero in Cologne Cathedral (10th century) are best preserved. The relief is made in a primitive manner, however, the unknown master managed to convey the character of his hero, proud landing, strength and self-confidence. The Crucifixion of Hero is striking in its realism, completely uncharacteristic of medieval art, which created all works according to strict canons.
The Romanesque era in German sculpture is characterized by depth, symbolic content and expressiveness. The Braunschweig lion (11th century), cast on the orders of the Saxon Fürst, became a symbol of determination and firmness of the Welfare family. And the Bamberg horseman (13th century) in the cathedral is the embodiment of chivalrous ideals and the stern courage of the monarch. The horseman’s complicated turn, numerous folds of clothing, and expressive head-landing speak of the sculptor’s remarkable talent.
As elsewhere in Europe, Gothic sculpture in Germany is almost inextricably linked with architecture. Cologne Cathedral can be considered a real sculptural Gothic encyclopedia. 14 sculptures adorn the central altar of the cathedral. The figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the twelve apostles are executed with extraordinary accuracy, expressively and confidently. Internal energy with external static is a characteristic feature of the whole Gothic sculpture. The Madonna of Milan adorns one of the chapels of the cathedral. Performed in a more free manner, the sculpture represents an exquisite, delicate image of the Virgin Mary with the baby Christ in her arms.
The Renaissance in Germany is represented by such distinguished authors as Shtos, Riemenschneider, Kraft, Fischer Senior. In their restrained but spiritualized works, the influence of new trends in art, humanism is clearly felt.
Many beautiful examples of sculptural baroque were created in Germany during the 17-18 centuries. The sculptures of Andreas Schluter are undoubted masterpieces that make up the glory of world art.
Of particular note is the work of Ignaz Gunther, who worked in the mid-18th century. His works are distinguished by external restraint, but by unusual emotionality and temperament.
In almost every city in Germany you can find magnificent equestrian statues of Fürst. In Düsseldorf, it is a monument to Jan Wellem on the market square. Gabriel de Grupello, the court sculptor of the Fürsts, created the sculpture during the life of Wellem. The townspeople tell the legend that when the master did not have enough metal to cast the statue, the inhabitants brought him silverware, because they loved their prince very much.
Christian Rauch created an excellent monument to Frederick the Great, which is installed in the center of Berlin. The pedestal, on which stands the equestrian sculpture of the greatest of the German kings, is decorated with symbolic images of power, wisdom, justice and moderation - the main virtues of the Prussian monarch.
Museums and palaces of Germany keep vast collections of German sculptures, representing absolutely all styles and trends in art, as well as giving an excellent idea of the history and modernity of this great country.