SCHADOW, Ridolfo
(b. 1786, Roma, d. 1822, Roma)

Biography

Ridolfo [Rudolf] Schadow, German sculptor, son of Johann Gottfried Schadow. He trained in his father's studio in Berlin, exhibiting statues and reliefs at the Berlin Akademie exhibitions between 1802 and 1810. Work from this period included both mythological and religious subjects. In 1810, with his brother Wilhelm Schadow, Ridolfo moved to Rome, in 1811 taking over the Roman sculpture studio of Christian Daniel Rauch.

Schadow's first Roman work, a statue of Paris (destroyed; several copies, e.g. bronze, 1820; Schloss Weissenstein, Pommersfelden) was exhibited at the Berlin Akademie in 1812, and it reveals the influence of the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Although homesickness and lack of confidence drove Schadow briefly back to Berlin, he soon returned to Rome, along with Rauch. From this point Schadow's work is markedly individual: he brought a realistic, genre treatment to his figures, which drew on both classical tradition and the formal language of idealizing early 19th-century painting. He chose subjects that offered scope for idealization within a realistic context, as in the seated figures of a Woman Fastening her Sandals (marble, 1813; Munich, Bayerische Nationalmuseum), a Woman Spinning (marble, 1816; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum) and a Girl with Doves (Innocence) (marble, 1820; Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie).

Under the influence of his brother Wilhelm and of Friedrich Overbeck, Schadow converted to Catholicism in 1814. His early death interrupted work on the plaster model for a sculptural group, Achilles Protecting the Dying Penthesilea (destroyed), completed, in marble, by Emil Wolff. The catalogue to the exhibition held at the Berlin Akademie in 1824 lists many works by Schadow that have not survived, including a Bacchus, a Cupid, a Discus-thrower, a Madonna, a Woman Dancing and a Diana.