Daniel Chodowiecki

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Ferdinand Collmann : Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki , after Johann Christoph Frisch (1790)
Signature Daniel Chodowiecki.PNG

Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki ( Polish [ / xɔdɔˈvjɛtski / ]; born October 16, 1726 in Danzig ; died February 7, 1801 in Berlin ) was the most popular German engraver, graphic artist and illustrator of the 18th century. His ancestors include Poles and Huguenots .


Chodowiecki's father, the Gdansk grain wholesaler Gottfried Chodowiecki, came from an originally noble family who lived in Greater Poland until around 1550 . His mother Marie Henriette Ayrer was a Swiss woman of Huguenot descent. His grandfather Christian, born in 1655, was also a merchant in Danzig. The miniature painter Gottfried Chodowiecki was his brother. After the death of his father in 1740, Chodowiecki began a commercial apprenticeship.

In 1743 he went to his uncle Antoine Ayrer, who ran a quincaillerie shop in Berlin . Chodowiecki drew and designed costume jewelry there. Ayrer provided artistic training and had his nephews Daniel and Gottfried instructed in enamel painting by Johann Jakob Haid from Augsburg . From 1754 the Chodowiecki brothers started their own business as miniature and enamel painters. During this time Chodowiecki was a student of the artists Bernhard Rode and Johann Heinrich Meil .

Just one year later, Chodowiecki married Johanna Marie (1728–1785), the daughter of the Huguenot silk embroiderer Jean Barez from Amsterdam, in Berlin . This marriage tied Chodowiecki into the French community in Berlin, in which he was very involved. The couple had six daughters and three sons. Louis Guilleaume (1765–1805) became a painter and engraver, Henri Isaac († 1831) became pastor of the French Reformed Church in Potsdam in 1805 at the age of 37. Susanne Henry became a painter.

In the almanacs and calendars of the time, Chodowiecki was able to achieve initial successes as an illustrator. Later, his engravings made him famous all over the world. Chodowiecki illustrated not only works by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , Friedrich Schiller or the front pages for kids friend of Christian Felix White . Scientific works such as those by Johann Bernhard Basedow , Johann Timotheus Hermes and Christian Gotthilf Salzmann are also illustrated with his engravings. His illustrations were also used in the translations of the bestsellers by Oliver Goldsmith , Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Tobias Smollett .

Chodowiecki could only cope with this enormous work (almost 2,300 etchings) with a workshop in which he could delegate a lot. Some of the best engravers, erasers and miniature painters in the country worked for him. The building sculpture on the French Cathedral in Berlin is based on Chodowiecki's designs. The artist had only moderate success with his few paintings.

From 1764 Chodowiecki was a member of the Royal Prussian Academy of the Arts , which King Friedrich II , who was almost exclusively oriented towards French culture , considered it to be practically dispensable until the 1770s. Chodowiecki tried hard to make changes. In 1783 he supported the appointment of his friend Bernhard Rode as director of the academy by Friedrich, which initiated its consolidation. In this year he also formulated his ideas about the nature of the academy: “Academie is a word that means a gathering of artists who come together in a place assigned to them at certain times to discuss their art amicably with one another their attempts to communicate insights and experiences, to learn from one another, to seek to approach perfection with one another. ”In 1783, Chodowiecki advanced to the position of secretary of the academy and was thus responsible for the academic exhibitions. From 1786 to 1789 he was rector, from 1789 to 1797 vice director. He was instrumental in the reform of the academy in 1790. From 1797 to 1801 - after Rode's death and until his death - he was director of the academy.


Grave in Berlin

Chodowiecki lived in Brüderstraße (Berlin-Mitte) from 1755 and later at Behrenstraße 31. He died at the age of 74 in Prussia's capital. He found his final resting place in the French cemetery . His grave is dedicated to the city of Berlin as an honorary grave. In Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg , Chodowieckistraße is named after him.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe valued the artist very much and described him in his maxims and reflections as “a very respectable and, we say, ideal artist, well known for his drawings and small copper engravings, depicting scenes of bourgeois life, in which he often found expression and character of the figures succeeded admirably. More ideal was not to be expected in the circle in which he worked ”. In Poetry and Truth , on the occasion of the Nicolae parody, the joy of young Werther is said: “That brochure soon came into our hands. The extremely delicate vignette by Chodowiecki made me very happy, as I adored this artist beyond measure. "

Johann Caspar Lavater wrote about his physiognomy in his work Physiognomische Fragmente, for the promotion of human knowledge and human love :

“Absolutely the most ideal physiognomy of a carefully observing, ready, hardworking, witty, fertile drawing genius! The artist's eye (which, of course, many artists do not have) seems to be the portrait of the artist who deserves my work. "

- Lavater


The Art Forum Ostdeutsche Galerie in Regensburg holds over 2,500 prints and 14 drawings by Chodowiecki.


The Berlin sculptor Martin Müller created a marble statue of Chodowiecki, which was placed in the vestibule of the Altes Museum in Berlin in 1930 .


  • Christoph Andreas Nilson, About German Art : or biographical-technical news from the ..., Jenisch and Stage'schen Verlagsbuchhandlung, Augsburg and Leipzig, 1833, pp. 73ff., ( Online )
  • Wolfgang von Oettingen: Daniel Chodowiecki. An artist's life in Berlin in the eighteenth century , Berlin 1895
  • Alfred Lichtwark , Das Bildnis in Hamburg , Vol. II, Druckerei A.-G., Hamburg, 1898, p. 31 ff., ( Online )
  • Wilhelm Engelmann: Daniel Chodowieckis all copper engravings. Supplements and corrections by Robert Hirsch . Reprint of the edition Leipzig 1857 a. 1906. Hildesheim: Olms 1969 (standard work).
  • Jens-Heiner Bauer: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki Danzig 1726 - 1801 Berlin. The graphic work. The Wilhelm Burggraf collection at Dohna-Schlobitten. , Hanover 1982. In addition: Elisabeth Wormsbächer: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki. Explanations and explanations for his etchings . A supplement to the catalog raisonné of prints. Kunstbuchverlag Galerie JH Bauer: Hannover, 1988. ISBN 978-3-92334-803-9
  • Helmut Bernt; A Berlin artist career in the 18th century: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki; from commercial apprentice to media star (= Graz University Press : series of habilitations, dissertations and diploma theses, volume 39; special volume of the Styrian Art History Research Center ), Leykam, Graz 2013, ISBN 978-370-11026-8-6 (dissertation University of Graz 2013, 297 pages) .
  • Melanie Ehler: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki. "Le petit Maitre" as a great illustrator ". Lukas, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-931836-51-7
  • Christina Florack-Kröll: “The audience wanted me to be an eraser”. Daniel Chodowiecki. His art and his time . Edited by Ursula Mildner. Arachne, Gelsenkirchen 2000, ISBN 3-932005-09-0 .
  • Willi Geismeier : Daniel Chodowiecki . Seemann, Leipzig 1993, ISBN 3-363-00576-8
  • Willi Geismeier (Ed.): Daniel Chodowiecki. The journey from Berlin to Gdansk . Nicolai, Berlin 1994, Vol. 1, The Diary . Translated from the French. by Claude Keisch, ISBN 3-87584-525-0 , Vol. 2, The Pictures . ISBN 3-87584-504-8 .
  • Ernst Hinrichs, Klaus Zernack: Daniel Chodowiecki (1726–1801): copper engraver, illustrator, businessman , Tübingen 1997, ISBN 3-484-17522-2 .
  • Jutta Reisinger-Weber: Daniel Chodowiecki. Director of the Berlin Academy , exhibition from October 11, 1997 to January 11, 1998, series of the West Prussian State Museum, ed. by Hans-Jürgen Schuch, exhibition catalog No. 52 (1997), ISBN 3-927111-30-9 .
  • Klaus Rothe (ed.): Chodowiecki and the art of the Enlightenment in Poland and Prussia . Böhlau, Cologne 1986, ISBN 3-412-03186-0 .
  • Arthur Rümann:  Chodowiecki, Daniel Nicolaus. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 212 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Alfred Woltmann:  Chodowiecki, Daniel . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 4, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1876, pp. 132-135.

Web links

Commons : Daniel Chodowiecki  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Daniel Chodowiecki  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. See in detail Jochen Desel, in: Ursula Fuhrich-Grubert and Jochen Desel (eds.), Daniel Chodowiecki (1726–1801), A Huguenot Artist and Philanthropist in Berlin, Bad Karlshafen 2001, ISBN 3-930-481-11- 1 , p. 163 ff.
  2. History of the Berlin Academy of the Arts. Most recently on December 8, 2004
  3. Data from the archive of the Akademie der Künste
  4. ^ E. Arnhold: Goethe's Berlin Relations