Aloys Hirt

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Aloys Hirt
Signature Aloys Hirt.PNG

Aloys Hirt (born June 27, 1759 in Behla, today the city of Hüfingen , † June 29, 1837 in Berlin ) was a German classical archaeologist . (The frequently appearing form of the name Aloys Ludwig Hirt is proven to be wrong.) He was the first professor of archeology at the newly founded Berlin University and is considered a co-founder of the Berlin museums and the building academy . Hirt is assigned to the Berlin Classic .


Coming from a wealthy peasant family, Hirt was able to attend the Benedictine high school in Villingen . After the death of his childhood sweetheart he went to the monastery for some time, but studied philosophy in Nancy from 1778 , first in Freiburg from 1779 , then law and political science in Vienna .

In 1782 he went to Rome , where he established himself as Cicerone from 1785 and was considered a knowledgeable antiquarian. He led u. a. Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff and the Duchess Luise von Anhalt-Dessau , Nikolaus II. Esterházy de Galantha , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , Johann Gottfried Herder , Duchess Anna Amalia von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach and the Countess Lichtenau . In 1794 he received the title of Princely Weimar Council.

Probably because of the Napoleonic Wars, he went back to Germany in 1796 and, with the support of Countess Lichtenau, became the Royal Prussian Council and member of the Academies of Sciences and Arts in Berlin. He developed plans for the establishment of a museum from the royal family's art holdings, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Altes Museum . He initiated the founding of the building academy and taught building history there, where Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Christian Daniel Rauch were among his students. When the Berlin University was founded, Hirt became a full professor of archeology in 1810. By the 1820s at the latest, his views and methods were increasingly viewed as too subjective and unscientific. Nevertheless, he retained his influence at court for a long time. In addition, he was a member of the lawless society in Berlin since 1809 . As his health deteriorated, he increasingly withdrew from public life in the 1830s.


The process from Sturm und Drang to Classicism and Romanticism is evident in Hirt's life and work . In Schiller's magazine Die Horen he declared the “characteristic”, the individually significant, to be the principle of his aesthetics. His views on architecture as a conditional framework for all the fine arts, which he shared with his colleague Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , he announced in the monumental works The History of Architecture among the Elderly and The History of Fine Arts among the Elderly . Despite some misjudgments, Hirt's encyclopedic, systematic and historicist method remained predominant in art history from the 19th century to the First World War.

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Individual evidence

  1. Borbein (1988) 12.