Art History

Schinkel's Network and His Designs and Expert Opinions for Buildings in Non-Prussian German States - Cultural Transfer as a Contribution to the Competition between Cultural States in the 19th Century

The 2013-2018 under the direction of Prof.em. Dr. Adrian von Buttlar by Dr. Andreas Meinecke, was successfully completed in the fall of 2018 and published in the form of a monumental monograph entitled "Preußische Denkmalpflege im Kaiserreich. Die Provinz Brandenburg und Berlin 1860-1918" published by Berlag Gebr. Mann. Since May 2013, the DFG project has been carried out jointly by the TU Berlin, Institute of Art History and Historical Urban Studies (Prof. Dr. von Buttlar) and the Humboldt University Berlin, Chair of Prussian History (Prof. Dr. Neugebauer, HU and BBAW) in the period until May 2016. An overall presentation of the contribution of the province of Brandenburg (with the metropolis of Berlin) to monument preservation and restoration in the last third of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century is a field of research that has not yet been worked on. 
The interactions between the monarchy's monument policy, the initiatives of the provincial association and the government building authorities are examined against the background of the fundamental debate after 1900 about the conservation methods of preservation and restoration. In the case of the more important monuments and outstanding restoration buildings, Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II also intervened in ongoing procedures in the province of Brandenburg via the funds of the "Allerhöchsten Dispositionsfonds" (Highest Disposition Fund).

Many individual aspects of the restoration, production buildings and extensions to architectural and artistic monuments of the province of Brandenburg with Berlin from this era are researched for the first time and presented in an overview. The topographical area of investigation covers the former province of Brandenburg (administrative districts of Potsdam and Frankfurt/Oder with the places that became part of Greater Berlin in 1920) and the old urban area of Berlin. In addition, places in the historical East Brandenburg and in the Neumark (Poland) are also included in the consideration. The most frequently affected genres of state monument preservation, such as town and monastery churches, castle and hospital chapels, town halls, town gates and walls, defense towers, and castle ruins are examined. With the expansion of the concept of monuments, the focus of attention also turned to uncoverings, square redesigns and changes to historically evolved urban structures (e.g. the town hall in Frankfurt/O., the surroundings of St. Mary's Church in Prenzlau, competitions for the town hall in Potsdam and the opera house in Berlin). The first systematic photographic survey and recording of important buildings and monuments from the Middle Ages to the Baroque, which was undertaken by the photographer Friedrich Albert Schwartz (1836-1906) on behalf of the magistrate of the city of Berlin, will also be examined. Graded according to the degree and extent of the intervention, various methods of "intervention" are to be differentiated, such as repairs, exposures, restorations, paintings, restorations (manufacturing buildings), stylistic unifications, new creations in a historical style, and partial demolitions. The materials used by the building authorities, such as cement, asphalt, iron or eternit, must also be taken into account.

In cooperation with the DAI and the Digital Archaeology Unit at the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne, the Arachne object database is used to document restoration measures on individual buildings on the basis of archival sources, plans, measurement images, historical photographs and articles from building journals and to record all data. A selection of the most significant historic preservation objects in the database will be published in greater depth as a "Catalog of Restoration Objects in the Province of Brandenburg/Berlin 1860/70-1918".

Starting from the basic ideas of the first conservator of Prussia's art monuments, Ferdinand von Quasts, the project will research and analyze the work and monument preservation positions of subsequent Prussian conservators Rudolf Bergau, Heinrich von Dehn-Rotfelser, Reinhold Persius, and Hans Lutsch. It will be examined to what extent the position of the provincial conservator for Brandenburg - who also administered the imperial capital - created in 1891 in the course of the establishment of the provincial commissions for the preservation and research of art monuments, in cooperation with the conservator of Prussia's art monuments assigned to the Ministry of Culture in Berlin, opened up possibilities for a more careful handling of the architectural heritage. In addition to the surviving reports of the provincial conservators Gustav Bluth, Georg Büttner, and Theodor Goecke on restoration projects, the "Reports on the Negotiations of the Provincial Commission for the Preservation of Monuments in the Province of Brandenburg and on the Activities of the Provincial Conservator," published from 1897 to 1916, have special source value.

Of central importance is that the processes of preserving the architectural heritage in the 19th century took place in the border area between historicist architecture and monument preservation as a newly created specialist discipline. One of the difficulties was that the conservation and careful restoration already postulated by F. von Quast and H. von Dehn-Rotfelser was difficult to implement at the level of the government building districts. In the process of compiling the inventories of architectural and artistic monuments (1880-1885 and 1899-1907), it became apparent that initiatives were being taken by architects and conservators as well as by representatives of the provincial committee to promote general awareness of the local monuments.

From the statements of the provincial conservators, answers can be expected as to which factors favored the often occurring discrepancy between theory and restoration practice and which conflicting efforts there were between the Ministry of Culture and the Provincial Committee or between some provincial conservators and the conservators of Prussian art monuments as well as the building officials of the governments and building districts. The progress, but also the temporary stagnation in the development of the state preservation of monuments between 1860/70 and World War I will be shown on the basis of the province of Brandenburg and Berlin.

The approach that the state constitutes tasks, but also takes over tasks that are brought to it from other levels of society, is thematized in the source work on the history of Prussia, the "Acta Borussica" N.F.. Such an interplay can be observed in the development of the Prussian state preservation of monuments, when the substantive demands raised at the meetings of the Gesamtverein der Geschichts- und Altertumsvereine regarding the organization of the state preservation of monuments were taken into account.