Christian Daniel Rauch - Encyclopedia

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CHRISTIAN DANIEL RAUCH (1777-1857), German sculptor, was born at Arolsen in the principality of Waldeck on the 2nd of January 1777. His parents were poor and unable to place him under efficient masters. His first instructor taught him little else than the art of sculpturing gravestones, and Professor Ruhl of Cassel could not give him much more. A wider field of improvement opened up before him when he removed to Berlin in 1797; but he was obliged to earn a livelihood by becoming a royal lackey, and to practise his art in spare hours. Queen Louisa, surprising him one day in the act of modelling her features in wax, sent him to study at the Academy of Art. Not long afterwards, in 1804, Count Sandrecky gave him the means to complete his education at Rome, where William von Humboldt, Canova and Thorwaldsen befriended him. Among other works, he executed bas-reliefs of "Hippolytus and Phaedra," "Mars and-Venus wounded by Diomede," and a "Child praying." In i 8 i i Rauch was commissioned to execute a monument for Queen Louisa of Prussia. The statue, representing the queen in a sleeping posture, was placed in a mausoleum in the grounds of Charlottenburg, and procured great fame for the artist. The erection of nearly all public statues came to be entrusted to him. There were, among others, Billow and Scharnhorst at Berlin, Blucher at Breslau, Maximilian at Munich, Francke at Halle, Durer at Nuremberg, Luther at Wittenberg, and the grand-duke Paul Frederick at Schwerin. At length, in 1830, he began, along with Schinkel the architect, the models for a colossal equestrian monument at Berlin to Frederick the Great. This work was inaugurated with great pomp in May 1851, and is regarded as one of the masterpieces of modern sculpture. Princes decorated Rauch with honours and the academies of Europe enrolled him among their members. A statue of Kant for Konigsberg and a statue of Thaer for Berlin occupied his attention during some of his last years; and he had just finished a model of "Moses praying between Aaron and Hur" when he was attacked by his last illness. He died on the 3rd of December 1857.

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