Apollo, Mercury & Co. are moving house

5 min read

From mid-February onwards, the eight surviving colossal statues from the workshop of Andreas Schlüter will be moved to the Sculpture Hall of the Humboldt Forum. They were originally located in the Schlüterhof courtyard of the Berlin Palace and were among the few works to have been fortunately salvaged before the ruins were demolished in 1950. In recent years, four of them have been on display in the Bode Museum’s cupola hall, and these are now the first to arrive at their new destination.

Six of the sculptures originally crowned the columns in front of the great courtyard portal, where, at over three metres high, they served as dignified ornamentation for the palace courtyard. They represent a canon of the ideal virtues of a ruler. Meleager, for example, stands for heroism and the protection of his subjects, Apollo symbolizes the nurturing of art and science, whilst Mercury represents the promotion of trade and the economy.

In order to protect them from the dangers of rain and frost, in future the precious originals will be on display in the two-storey Sculpture Hall at the eastern entrance to the Humboldt Forum. Together with other loans and architectural fragments, the most important surviving examples of the Berlin Palace’s original sculptures are to be reunited here, close to their original location.

The newly reconstructed Schlüterhof will contain faithful replicas of the originals, rendering tangible the spatial connections between architecture and sculpture.