School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Cultural transfer in Matters of Architecture: Leo von Klenze in Britain 1836/1851/1853

26 November 2019

Time: 6:15pm
Speaker: Professor Dr. Adrian von Buttlar (Technische Universität Berlin)
Venue: ArtsOne 1.28

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Anglo-German cultural transfer in art, architecture and design from the late 18th to the mid-20th centuries provides a wide  and fascinating field of research: The import of the english landscape garden, neo-palladianism, neo-gothic, the aesthetics of the picturesque and the innovations of the industrial revolution on the continent was matched by the growing english interest in the achievements of german romantic idealism: for instance public education (Bildung) by stately art-and-craft schools, academies,  museums, monuments and neo-humanistic building programmes. The lecture presents a fairly unknown chapter of this subject:

Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), Court Architect and Chief Surveyor of Public Building in Bavaria, in 1836 was invited to London by the Select Committee of Arts and Manufacture for a hearing to rise taste in Britain, especially in regard to the applied arts. As the leading capacity in modern museum-architecture, Klenze in 1851 returned to London from St. Petersburg, where he had inspected the rise of his New Hermitage Museum, to visit the World Exhibition (and to critize Paxton´s nearby Crystal Palace). Nevertheless, suggested by Prince Albert, he received the Gold Medal of the RIBA and in 1853 was again invited by the House of Commons to the Select Committee on the National Gallery, where he fostered Henry Cole´s  (unrealized) plans for a new National Museum to be erected in Hyde Park by very innovative ideas. His flexible Neo-Grec, which allowed to combine diverse historic elements with a modernist, functional structure was highly esteemed in Britain.