Sculptures

The Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum boasts a rich variety of sculptural works from ivory, wood, bronze, stone and wax.

The collection of sculptures reflects the interests of the court collectors who surrounded themselves with high-quality works of art. A variety of themes from classical antiquity, mythology, scenes from Christianity, as well as portraits of contemporaries were executed in a variety of different materials. Representational everyday objects, which were, however, not intended for practical use, were coveted collectors’ items.

Ivory

The ivory collection with its almost 600 individual items is among the largest of its kind in Germany and includes numerous top-quality objects such as works by Balthasar Permoser, Leonard Kern, Ignaz Elhafen and Giovanni Battista Pozzo. Some of these objects can be traced back directly to the founder of the collections, Duke Anton Ulrich (1633-1714). The spectacular reacquisition of two figures by Balthasar Permoser representing the seasons, which had been removed from the collections in 1806 and returned to Brunswick 210 years later, in 2016, emphasize the importance of the collection in an impressive manner. In 1988 the Museum managed to acquire five musicians by Matthias Kolb which effectively combine two different materials - ivory and wood. A giant cup with a height of 85 cm stands out among the other vessels entirely covered in decorative carvings.

An inventory catalogue of the ivory collection is currently being established.

Wood

The main work in this collection of wood sculptures is a figure of Eve, signed by Leonard Kern, with the matching figure of Adam. Another remarkable work is the figure of the Man of Sorrows. This sculpture of the martyred Christ was created by Zacharias Hegewald. There is also a number of chess figures, impressively carved as mini sculptures and a cup made from birch bark. As evidence of woodturning as a princely pastime, a foot bowl made by Duke Augustus Wilhelm has been preserved.

Bronze

The collection of the roughly 320 works in bronze is mainly focussed on sculptures from the Baroque period, although there are some outstanding works from as early as the 16th century. Examples are the works by Giambologna, for instance the figure of the Mars, the god of war, in a striding posture, as well as the powerful animal bronzes from Augsburg. The head of an African man from the middle of the 17th century, created by one of the artists associated with Artus Quellinus the Elder, also exerts a strong presence. The focal point of this collection is arguably the early equestrian statue of Duke Heinrich Julius on a rearing horse. An inventory catalogue from 1994 is available.

Works in stone

This collection area comprises important busts of the Dukes of Brunswick, created by Balthasar Permoser and Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, but also small alabaster sculptures, many of which were created in the environment of the court in Wolfenbüttel in the 18th century. A special feature of this collection are the inlaid stone works by Johann Leonhard Franck, who used colored stones, applied to slate with wax, to create three-dimensional still lifes. Other works in the collection include Florentine mosaics and Scagliola (stucco marble). An inventory catalogue was published in 2019.

Works in wax

Despite its low material value, wax has been used since the Renaissance for reliefs, portraits, models or even full body figures. Today, they can still be seen in waxworks museums. The collection of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum has more than 130 works that demonstrate the entire range of the artistic use of this material. For conservational reasons, only a limited number of the works are on display. Alongside a large number of framed works with depictions from mythology and classical antiquity, a three-dimensional work which has the “Blessedness of Prussia” as its theme stands out. The “Courtly Society” represents ladies and gentlemen in a garden enjoying music and dance as on a proscenium stage. Even the curtain is made of wax. Another unusual work is a relief representing winter, designed in a realistic manner with a red coat and fur trimming. The inventory catalogue was published in 2002.

Contact and image requests

Dr. Regine Marth

Head of Sculptures, Antiquity, Middle Ages, Non-European Art

Email r.marth@3landesmuseen.de
Phone +49 531 1225 - 2406
Fax +49 531 1225 - 2408

Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum
Museumstr. 1
38100 Braunschweig

Fotoanfragen

Image requests

Email bildarchiv.haum@lists.3landesmuseen.de
Phone +49 531 1225 - 2401
Fax +49 531 1225 - 2408

Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum
Museumstr. 1
38100 Braunschweig