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Gerhard, Eduard

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Gerhard, Eduard

    Other Names:

    • Friedrich Wilhelm Eduard Gerhard

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 29 November 1795

    Date Died: 12 May 1867

    Place Born: Poznań, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland

    Place Died: Berlin, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): ancient, Ancient Greek (culture or style), and Roman (ancient Italian culture or period)


    Scholar of ancient Greek and Roman art; early creator of corpora; co-founder of the early group later to become the Deutsches archäologisches Institut. He was born in Posen, Prussia, which is present-day, Poznań, Poland. Gerhard studied philology at the universities of Breslau and Berlin, the latter under the classicist August Böckh (1785-1867). A trip to Italy in 1819-20 excited an interest in archaeology, which he continued at Bonn (1821). He returned to Rome the following year where he met fellow northern European classical scholars, including Theodor S. Panofka, August Kestner, and Otto von Stackelberg (1787-1837) with whom he formed a group known as the Roman Hyperboreans’ Association (Hyperboreisch-römische Gesellschaft). The result of his association with the Gesellschaft was Gerhard’s 1823 book on the Roman Forum, Della Basilica Giulia ed alcuni siti del Foro Romano, where he established the exact site of the basilica. He also made the Roman acquaintance of Christian Josias Bunsen (1791-1860), Carlo Fèa, the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844). Sensing a need for a basic scholarly inventory of major archaeological collections, he and Panofka wrote the first volume of a corpus of sculptures in the Museo Archeologico in Naples, Neapels antike Bildwerke. Panofka cataloged the vases of the museum and Gerhard the classical sculpture. No further volumes, however, appeared. He also assisted in Bunsen’s Beschreibung der Stadt Rom, 1829. The success of the Hyperboreans suggested that they should open their membership to a larger audience. In 1829, too, the Instituto Corrispondenza Archeologica or Institut für archäologisches Korrespondenz (Institute for Archaeological Correspondence) was established. In 1831, Gerhard issued his “Rapporto intorno i vasi volcenti” in the organ for the Institute, the Annali dell’Istituto. In it, Gerhard described the Etruscan excavations at Vulci first-hand and suggested the outline of the four major vase types of Greek painted vases. The seminal publication also supported the analysis by Luigi Antonio Lanzi that the vases were Greek in origin, simply discovered in Etruscan tombs. Gerhard moved to Berlin in 1834 and began publishing the Berlins antike Bildwerke, a projected monographic series on the classical objects in that city. Two years later the first and only volume appeared. Gerhard was now occupied with an inventory of Greek vases, the Auserlesene griechische Vasenbilder, which began in 1839. In 1840 his corpus of Etruscan mirrors, Etruskische Spiegel, began. Vasenbilder appeared fully in his lifetime (four volumes, complete in 1858) and Etruskische Spiegel completed by colleagues. Gerhard was appointed professor of archaeology at the University in Berlin in 1843. In 1855 he assumed the duties of director of the sculpture collection (Antiquarium) of the Königliches Museum, Berlin. He wrote a Griechische Mythologie (1854, 55) during these final years. Upon his death in 1867 he was succeeded in Berlin by Ernst Curtius. His students included Alexander Conze and those who studied with him included Reinhard Kekulé. Gerhard continued the aestheticising tradition of Winckelmann in studying a wide range of ancient art. Gerhard’s commitment to intellectual institutions, such as his cofounding of the Institut für archäologisches Korrespondenz was significant for its later development into the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches archäologisches Institut) in 1871. Gerhard served as Director of the IfAK for most of the first three decades of its existence. Among his many contributions, his dedication to publicizing antique objects, heretofore only know through first-hand acquaintance and much travel, remains paramount. Auserlesene griechische Vasenbilder and Etruskische Spiegel represent a serious systematic account and scholarly treatments of their subject. His arrangement and methodology because the basis by which most other classical and art-historical corpora were designed. His reliance on iconography and subject according to modern standards appears forced (Elliott).

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography:] “Eduard Gerhard, Verzeichnis seiner Schriften.” Dem Archäologen Eduard Gerhard 1795-1867 zu seinem 200. Geburtstag. Berlin: W. Arenhövel, 1997, pp. 16-24; and Panofka, Theodor. Monumenti inediti pubblicati dall’Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica. Rome: Institut de correspondance arche´ologique, 1829-1833; “Rapporto intorno i vasi volcenti.” Annali dell’Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica 3 (1831): 5-218; Thatsachen des archäologischen Instituts in Rom. Berlin: Gedruckt in der Druckerei der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1832; Neuerworbene antike Denkmäler des Königlichen Museums zu Berlin. 3 vols in 1. Berlin: Druckerei der K. Akademie de Wissenschaften, 1836; Antike Bildwerke zum ersten Male bekannt gemacht. Stuttgart: J.G. Cotta, 1827; Berlins antike Bildwerke. Part I. Berlin: G. Reimer, 1836; Etruskische und kampanische vasenbilder des Königlichen museums zu Berlin. Berlin: G. Reimer, 1843; Etruskische Spiegel. 5 vols. Berlin: G. Reimer, 1843-1897; “über archaologische Apparate und Musseen.” in: AZ 16, nos. 116, 117 (August-September 1858); Trinkschalen und Gefässe des Königlichen Museums zu Berlin und anderer Sammlungen. 2 vols. Berlin: G. Reimer, 1848-1850; Griechische Mythologie. Berlin: G. Reimer, 1854-1855; über Orpheus und die Orphiker eine akademische Abhandlung. Berlin: Druckerei der Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften (In Commission bei Dümmler), 1861.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 20-22; Kästner, Ursula, and Borbein, Adolf Heinrich. 150 Jahre Archäologische Gesellschaft zu Berlin. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1993; Suzanne L. Marchand. Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996: 54-60; Elliott, John A. “Gerhard, Friedrich Wilhelm Eduard.” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 489-491; Wrede, Henning, ed. Dem Archäologen Eduard Gerhard 1795-1867 zu seinem 200. Geburtstag. Berlin: W. Arenhövel, 1997;

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Gerhard, Eduard." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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