Carl May

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cork model of the Pantheon in Rome, Johannisburg Castle in Aschaffenburg

Carl Joseph May (also Carl Mey, born May 11, 1747 in Mainz , † June 6, 1822 in Aschaffenburg ) was a pastry chef and worked as a German phelloplastic , i.e. cork carver . He is considered one of the most important imitators of the Italian Antonio Chichi .

He was born in Mainz as the son of the constable Martin May and his wife Anna Margareta. The more precise tradition about May only begins in his fourth decade of life. He was in the service of the imperial counts of Ostein around 1780 and became court confectioner of Karl Theodor von Dalberg by 1790 at the latest , first in Erfurt and from 1803 in Aschaffenburg.

He was married to Katharina Gebursch (born April 17, 1761) and had at least six children. We know of Jakob (* June 10, 1789), Georg Heinrich (* November 28, 1790), Christian (* 1795 or 1796), Margartha Josepha (* April 10, 1797), Anna Maria (* November 8, 1799), Maximilian (born July 10, 1802).

Following the models of Antonio Chichi, he made cork models of important ancient buildings from 1793 at the latest , as well as, on a smaller scale, of German architectural monuments since the Gothic. His works were very popular all over Europe and were therefore also sold abroad by him. The largest collection with 54 pieces is now in Johannisburg Castle in Aschaffenburg, the models were partly created for Karl Theodor von Dalberg, partly for King Ludwig I of Bavaria . Another large collection of 29 models was acquired by Duke Friedrich Franz I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin . It is shown in Ludwigslust Palace ( State Museum Schwerin ).

His son Georg Heinrich May (1790–1853) continued his father's activity as a phelloplastic artist. King Ludwig I sent him to Rome in 1826 at his own expense because he had recognized the value of the models for popular education.


  • Imitation of ancient monuments. In: Journal of Luxury and Fashions. 9, 1794, pp. 158–159 ( digitized version ), reprinted in: Werner Helmberger, Valentin Kockel (Ed.): Carrying Rome over the Alps. Arcos, Landshut / Ergolding 1993, pp. 64-65.
  • Jakob Dominikus : About Mr. Mey's Felloplastik. In: Der Neue Teutsche Merkur, Jg. 1800, Part I, pp. 325–336 ( digitized version ); Reprinted in: Werner Helmberger, Valentin Kockel (Ed.): Carrying Rome over the Alps. Arcos, Landshut / Ergolding 1993, p. 85.
  • About Meys' advances in Felloplastik or Bildnerey in cork. In: Almanac of Advances, Latest Inventions and Discoveries in Sciences, Arts, Manufactures and Crafts. Volume 5: From Easter 1799 to Easter 1800. Georg Adam Keyser, Erfurt 1801, pp. 402-411 ( ).
  • Ignaz Ferdinand Arnold : Felloplastik or the art of depicting models of ancient buildings in cork. Gotha 1804 ( digitized ).
  • Erich Stenger : Phelloplastik. Self-published, Berlin 1927, p. 11 ff.
  • May, Carl . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 24 : Mandere – Möhl . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1930, p. 290 .
  • Adolf M. Vogt, Werner Jehle: Cork models by Carl May (1747-1822). Architectural models made of cork from Aschaffenburg Castle. Ancient Roman buildings made of cork. Basel 1988.
  • Werner Helmberger, Valentin Kockel (ed.): Carrying Rome over the Alps. Princes collect ancient architecture. The Aschaffenburg cork models. Arcos, Landshut / Ergolding 1993, ISBN 3-9802205-9-1 , esp. Pp. 63–90 Werner Helmberger: Carl Joseph May. Court confectioner and cork maker.
  • Françoise Lecocq: Les premières maquettes de Rome. L'exemple des modèles réduits en liège de Carl et Georg May dans les collections européennes aux XVIIIe – XIXe siècles. In: Philippe Fleury, Olivier Desbordes (ed.): Roma illustrata. Representations de la ville. Caen 2008, ISBN 978-2-84133-310-3 , pp. 227-260 ( digitized version ).
  • Eberhard Kasten: May, Carl . In: General Artist Lexicon . The visual artists of all times and peoples (AKL). Volume 88, de Gruyter, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-11-023254-7 , p. 116.

Web links

Commons : Carl May  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Werner Helmberger: Carl Joseph May. In: Werner Helmberger, Valentin Kockel: Carrying Rome over the Alps. Arcos, Landshut / Ergolding 1993, ISBN 3-9802205-9-1 , p. 63.
  2. Exhibited in the picture gallery .