(b. 1857, Leipzig, d. 1920, Naumburg)


Bronze, marble, amber and tiles, height 310 cm
Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig

Already in the 1880s Max Klinger, then living in Paris as a student, focused on the project of creating a monument in honour of Ludwig van Beethoven. As he once said, he had the first ideas for a sculpture when playing the piano. In the first version of the later monument Klinger realised his idea in gypsum and coloured it vividly.

Max Klinger presented his Beethoven sculpture for the first time in public at the Vienna Secession Exhibition in 1902. The unusual sculpture caused a public indignation because it was regarded as inadequate and consequently met with derision. Later Klinger sold the sculpture to the city of Leipzig. From then on, his monument was seen as the ideal of a heroic Beethoven monument, showing the composer as an epitome of the human mind which can become godlike through achievement.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.