Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 04:20

Karl Friedrich Schinkel

First delight, then instruct.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel (13 March 17819 October 1841) was a Prussian architect, city planner, and painter who also designed furniture and stage sets.

QuotesEdit

Give industry a direction in which beauty is as important as utility
  • Erst erfreuen, dann belehren.
    • First delight, then instruct.
      • "On the Purpose of the Berlin Gallery" [Über die Aufgabe der Berliner Galerie] (1828) (co-written with and Gustav Friedrich Waagen) Geismeier, Irene (1980). "Gustav Friedrich Waagen: 45 Jahre Museumarbeit". Forschungen und Berichte 20: 397-419. Geismeier's source for this quotation is Stock, Friedrich (1930). "Urkunden zur Vorgeschichte des Berliner Museums". Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen: 205-22. The report was written during the construction of the Altes Museum, for which Schinkel was the architect. This quotation is occasionally attributed to Wilhelm von Humboldt, which appears to be erroneous; von Humboldt had quoted Schinkel and Waagen in a report.
  • Indifference to the fine arts comes close to barbarism.
    • As quoted in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture, Vol. 11 (1976) by Garland Publishing, p. 94; also in The Dictionary of Art, Vol. 28 (1996) by Jane Turner
  • I hope I may be allowed to remark that recent inventions and improvements enabling works of art to be duplicated faithfully, easily, and safely may properly be used to give industry a direction in which beauty is as important as utility. I cannot, as many do, regret the mechanical process that turns the artist's attention increasingly towards the intellectual element in the production of a work of art; something that no machinery can replace. Anything that a machine can imitate and duplicate perfectly is no longer in the realm of art. But as a work of art can be mechanically duplicated both faithfully and with ease, and this distributed to all classes of society, if the knowledge of that work need no longer be acquired solely in museums or in those private collections to which access is difficult, then we may hope that here and there one of the seeds thus broadcast will take root and eventually bear fruit.

Quotes about SchinkelEdit

It is a measure of Schinkel's genius that he could provide such functional solutions to particular problems, clothe them in intelligible and expressive forms, incorporate them so felicitously into their environment, and make it all seem so natural and inevitable. ~ Rand Carter
  • Schinkel's aesthetic was not a crudely materialistic "truth to material" affair… but rather an attempt to inform iron and other industrial materials with an appropriate beauty through the direct collaboration of the artist in the manufacturing process.
  • Schinkel was not arbitrary in his use of historical modes but rather eclectic in the best sense of the word. He could search the past for its conspicuous successes using them both freely and discursively as the basis for a contemporary architecture.
    • Rand Carter in "Karl Friedrich Schinkel, The Last Great Architect" (1981)
  • Schinkel had asserted that architecture should be the expression of an idea, and, that insofar as it represented a transcendence of the intellectual over purely material considerations, the Gothic style was the best example of an architectural expression of ideas. Yet, as it happened over the next several generations Gothic was capable of expressing a variety of ideas, often contradictory. It could, for example, express the ultimate victory of spirit over matter, an architectural system "organically" related to nature, or the most logical and efficient use of masonry. It was both the visible expression of the Germanic soul and an ideal vehicle for Catholic worship. If similar forms could express such a variety of ideas, was it also possible that a variety of forms could express similar ideas? That meaning was not intrinsic in the forms but rather attached to them by tacit agreement and confirmed by the specific context? Although it is true that the Gothic Monument to the Wars of Liberation was in a "national" style while the Museum dedicated to universal cultural history was in a timeless "international" style, there is also the particular location of each building to consider: a suburban hilltop for the former and the center of the city with its monumental classical buildings for the latter. Schinkel approached each particular problem on its own terms, and this freedom from a self-consistent but doctrinaire method contributed to his success as a practicing architect even if it makes it difficult to reconstruct his "theory of architecture."
    • Rand Carter in "Karl Friedrich Schinkel, The Last Great Architect" (1981)
  • Ironically, the belief that the new age was essentially different from the past led to the emotional need to find "roots" in the past, to find some continuity with man's great achievements of the past. The unprecedented nature of so many of the architectural tasks and the altered conditions for their realization inevitably produced originality at the level of planning and construction; but as the Romantic architect and, indeed, sensible men realized, man is an emotional creature who needs to be reassured by the familiar and the intelligible. It is a measure of Schinkel's genius that he could provide such functional solutions to particular problems, clothe them in intelligible and expressive forms, incorporate them so felicitously into their environment, and make it all seem so natural and inevitable.
    • Rand Carter in "Karl Friedrich Schinkel, The Last Great Architect" (1981)

External linksEdit

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