|P a l a c e B r i d g e - S c h l o s s b r u c k e
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The Palace Bridge
Schinkel had conceives the bridge to be constructed not only as a bare ornament. Its "important articles" floating as decorative forwards.
The figures on high pedestals should become a unity and give greatness to the whole plan.
Over the bare decoration, the figures should remind the heroes of the wars of liberation in classical impassibility.
The sculptures sketched by Schinkel show the development of a hero from early youth over manhood up to death on the battlefield as well as his translation to Olympus.
Originally the figures had been thought to be made of cast-iron. The metal applied after the wars of liberation as "patriotic material", from which also the Iron Cross was manufactured.
However Schinkel foresaw that iron could grant no pretty view to be seen namely on a female body implemented "in this rough and unpleasant metal".
The projected groups contained "very beautiful naked young man and woman shapes", who would grant a sad sight from iron, predicted the master.
Thus it was decided to manufacture the figures of the Palace Bridge out of marble, which allows today stone restorers to do regular inspections and occasional subsequent reparations.
With iron figures one would have to drive certainly still larger monument nursing expenses, because the metal is extremely corrosion susceptible, as the care measures with the cast-iron cross mountain monument (Kreuzbergdenkmals) show.
The master builder saw those "as a wonderful memory of the fight for freedom and independence" meaning the antique Goddesses, with and without wings, Nike and Athena, together with the associated warrior.
The economical and not prone to take risks Friedrich William III did not have much remains for such piece of decoration since the Hohenzollern rule was badly cut and Prussia had run into oppression.
Under the pressure of the events the monarch had seen itself forced to concessions, for which he would have never consented himself under "normal" circumstances.
These groups with the winged Goddess of Victory are associate with four central groups with woman shapes without wings, but magnificent helmets, the Goddess of Wisdom:
"the students of Berlin organized a torch course in honor of the bride of the successor to the throne.
The torches were thrown together on the, at that time still free, center of the Desire Garden (Lustgartens).
The flow back of the crowd watching the display started as the result of an incorrect rumor, that the new bridge would be blocked for the traffic.
On the side of the bridge, during the time of building, there was established a wooden bridge, and many persons fell into the water and more than 20 persons died.
The notice of the death of so many people, who had lost their lives in this sad ending of the festival day, were forbidden, in consideration for the princely bride, in the newspapers by the censor, and its publication was only able to be obtained through the emphatic complains at the Ministry, caused strong indignation in the population."
Krieger, S. 102
In the summer of 1989, the still missing eagle medallions were inserted into the sockets. Four reliefs show the fight of an eagle with a snake, another one show the predator bird with lightning bundles.
Sculptors from the "Stuck und Naturstein GmbH Berlin" created the round marble reliefs after castings, which arrived into East Berlin through the exchange against other art property from West Berlin.
Now Schinkels' masterpiece shows up in its whole beauty and is again a popular subject for photos as formerly.
Take the train (S-Bahn) or the underground train (U-Bahn) and leave it at Friedrichstrass station, follow the Friedrichstrass, on the left, take the celebrated "under the lime trees" (Unter den Linden) to get to the Palace Bridge (Schlossbrucke).
Copyright ©1998-2003 Roy George