Franz Kugler (historian)

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Memorial plaque on the Rudelsburg

Franz Theodor Kugler (born January 18, 1808 in Stettin , † March 18, 1858 in Berlin ) was a German historian, art historian and writer.


Kugler was the third child of the merchant, consul and city councilor Johann Georg Emanuel Kugler and his wife, the preacher's daughter Sophie Dorothea Eleonora, née. Sternberg. The painter Louise Kugler was his sister. He grew up in Szczecin, where he attended the Marienstiftsgymnasium . He then studied in Berlin. His sketchbook appeared in 1830 and contained the folksong-like song An der Saale hellem Strande, which is known to this day, and Albert von Schlippenbach's poem Ein Heller und ein Batzen with a composition by Kugler that is now forgotten. In 1831 he received his doctorate in art history. In 1833 he married Clara Hitzig, the daughter of the writer Julius Eduard Hitzig .

Kugler had been a lecturer since 1833 and became a full professor of art history at the Berlin Academy of Arts in 1835 . Jakob Burckhardt attended his lectures and made friends with Klugler. Later he entrusted Burckhardt with the revision of his works “Handbuch der Geschichte der Malerei” and the one-volume “Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte”.

In 1835 and 1838 he went on extensive trips with Franz von Gaudy in Italy, where he visited works of art. He later embarked on a civil service career: in 1843 he became an art consultant in the Prussian Ministry of Culture.

In 1840, Kugler wrote his story of Frederick the Great with a detailed, sensitive account of how his father Frederick William I broke the personality of Frederick II , which is intended to make his personality understandable. This work was a great success, to which the book illustrations by his then still unknown friend, the painter Adolph Menzel , may have contributed. The book is still published today.

His manuals on the history of Italian, German and Dutch painting have been translated into English. A British author wrote a supplementary volume on the history of Spanish and French painting.

Old St.Matthäus Kirchhof Berlin grave of Franz Theodor Kugler

Since his student days, Kugler took an active part in Berlin's social life. He was a member of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin , joined the Association of Younger Artists , was a member of the Architects Association from 1831 and of the Scientific Art Association from 1832. From 1848 on he belonged to the predominantly literary associations Tunnel over the Spree (his nickname there was Lessing ) and Rütli .

In the heyday of the glorification of the “German Gothic” in the middle of the 19th century, in the third volume of his History of Architecture (1859) , Kugler first placed medieval architecture in the context of the development of art as a whole and also demonstrated the origins of Gothic in northern France . This realization was only slowly gaining ground in Germany. After that, however - in the 1880s - people began to prefer the supposedly “purely German” Romanesque style over the now “French” Gothic.

Franz Kugler died on March 18, 1858 in Berlin. His grave is in the Old St. Matthew Cemetery in Berlin-Schöneberg. It has been dedicated to the city of Berlin as an honorary grave since 1958 . Kuglerstrasse in Berlin was named after him in 1903 .

The historian Bernhard von Kugler and the painter Hans Kugler were his sons, his daughter Margarethe was married to the writer Paul Heyse .

Works (selection)

Single fonts



  • Friedrich Eggers : Franz Theodor Kugler. A life sketch. In: Franz Kugler: Handbook of the history of painting since Constantine the Great . 3. Edition. Leipzig 1867, pp. 1-34 ( ).
  • Kugler, Franz Theodor . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 17, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1883, pp. 307-315.
  • Kugler, Franz . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 22 : Krügner – Leitch . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1928, p. 78 .
  • Kurt Karl Eberlein: Franz Kugler. In: Pommersche Lebensbilder I. Saunier, Stettin 1934, pp. 123–140.
  • Wolfgang Freiherr von Löhneysen:  Kugler, Franz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 13, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-428-00194-X , pp. 245-247 ( digitized version ).
  • Leonore Koschnik: Franz Kugler (1808–1858) as an art critic and cultural politician. Diss. FU Berlin, Berlin 1985
  • Henrik Karge: World Art History. Franz Kugler and the geographic foundation of art historiography in the middle of the 19th century. In: Art Topography. Theory and method in art history and archeology since Winckelmann , ed. vd Winckelmann-Gesellschaft, Stendal 2003, pp. 19–31
  • Gustav Falke: A Berlin conference is rehabilitating the art politician Franz Kugler. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . December 17, 2008, p. 35
  • Wolfgang Cortjaens: Model Landscape Rhine-Maas? Topographical and cultural-political classification criteria in the Prussian art history of the Vormärz: Karl Schnaase, Franz Kugler and Franz Mertens and the construction of national and regional 'schools'. In: Wolfgang Cortjaens, Jan De Maeyer and Tom Verschaffel: Historism and Cultural Identity in the Rhine Meuse Region. Tensions between Regionalism and Nationalism in the 19th Century. Leuven University Press 2008, pp. 95-111, ISBN 978-90-5867-666-5 .
  • Michel Espagne, Bénédicte Savoy, Céline Trautmann-Waller: Franz Theodor Kugler. German art historian and Berlin poet. Akademie Verlag, Berlin, 2010, ISBN 978-3-05-004645-7 (reading sample, ).
  • Eric Garberson: Art history in the university: Toelken - Hotho - Kugler. In: Journal of Art Historiography , Number 5, December 2011 ( PDF; 1.0 MB and tables PDF; 642 kB).
  • Barbara Mohr: Louise Kugler's drawings for her Berlin circle of friends from the 1850s to 1870s. In: Yearbook of the Association for the History of Berlin . 66th episode, Berlin 2017, pp. 93-108.
  • Walter Rehm: Jakob Burckhardt and Franz Kugler. In: Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde. Volume 41, 1942, pp. 155-252 ( ).


  • Portrait of Franz Kugler, .
  • Bust of Friedrich Wilhelm Wolff around 1870 marble. ( The busts in the Kolonnadenhof , Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).
  • Lithograph marked: A. Menzel del. / F. Mandel sc. / Franz Kugler / print by Niederbühl , illustration in Friedrich Eggers (ed.): Deutsches Kunstblatt (Stuttgart): magazine for fine arts, architecture and handicrafts ; Organ der Deutschen Kunstvereine, 9.1858, p. 94b ( digital , Heidelberg University Library).

Web links

Commons : Franz Kugler  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Franz Kugler  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Gottfried von BülowCorrection . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 28, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1889, p. 807.
  2. ^ Petra Wilhelmy: The Berlin Salon. P. 704 f.
  3. ^ Walter Rehm: Jakob Burckhardt and Franz Kugler In: Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde. Volume 41, 1942, pp. 155-252.
  4. Eadmund Head: A Hand-Book of the History of the Spanish and French Schools of Painting - Intended as a Sequel to “Kugler's Hand-Books of the Italian, German and Dutch Schools of Painting”. London 1848 ( ).
  5. ^ Theodor Fontane : From twenty to thirty. The tunnel over the Spree. ( )
  6. Günther Binding : What is Gothic? An analysis of the Gothic churches in France, England and Germany 1140–1350. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2000, p. 24.
  7. ^ Joachim Petsch: Own home and living room. On the history of bourgeois living. Cologne 1989, p. 72
  8. ^ The Pomeranian Newspaper . No. 3/2008, p. 4.
  9. Kuglerstrasse. In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein (near  Kaupert )