Winckelmann Institute

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The Winckelmann Institute at the Humboldt University in Berlin is a scientific institute in the field of classical archeology . Since the reorganization of the university after the turn of the Institute belongs since 1992 to the cultural, social and educational Sciences and forms as a teaching area for Classical Archeology , together with the teaching area Archeology and Cultural History of Northeastern Africa , the Institute of Archeology .

Since the founding of the Berlin University in 1810, archeology has been anchored in teaching without interruption. In the 19th century in particular, the institute was one of the central locations for international research in the field of classical archeology. The institute benefited not least from its proximity to the other ancient science disciplines at the university, the Berlin museums, in particular the Berlin Collection of Antiquities , but also to the German Archaeological Institute , the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin , the Berlin Building Academy and the Archaeological Society Berlin . The Winckelmann Institute is now a partner of the TOPOI and Image - Knowledge - Design clusters of excellence , the Berlin Antike College and the August Boeckh Antike Center .

Since 1992, the institute has been located in its historically ancestral rooms in the west wing of the main building of the University of Unter den Linden . The library, slide library, digit library and photo laboratory as well as the collection of the Winckelmann Institute are among the most important teaching aids .

Institute history

Before the institute was founded

Before the university was founded, Berlin had never developed into a center for antiquity research. It took a comparatively long time for ancient art to achieve any notable significance: in 1686, the Elector Friedrich III, who later became the first Prussian King Friedrich I , inherited the collection of Karl II of the Palatinate after the Protestant line Palatinate-Simmern had died out . With the collection, Lorenz Beger came to Berlin as a librarian and antiquarian, who is to be regarded as the first German archaeologist of importance. After Beger's death only his nephew and successor Johann Carl Schott and the philosopher Johann Georg Wachter came forward with archaeological work for a long time . 1696 was the Academy of Sciences , 1700, the Academy of Sciences established, but a long time had shown little interest in the ancient art. In addition, the "soldier king" Friedrich Wilhelm I had no real interest in the academies, and his son Friedrich II , an admirer of French culture, considered promoting the local art academy to be a futile effort and built the academy of sciences on the model of the French Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres . It was not until the Swiss philosopher Johann Georg Sulzer , an important representative of aesthetics , that he also dealt with antiquity on the fringes of his work. Probably he also suggested the appointment of Johann Joachim Winckelmann as royal librarian in 1765 , which failed in the end due to different salary expectations.

The turn to antiquity came through the turn to classicism in art and historicism in science. This was not just a matter of establishing a style based on ancient art and architecture, but was part of a further change in bourgeois society. As a result of the French Revolution and economic development, the bourgeoisie became the new state elite. In ancient art and literature, the greatness of which Winckelmann established in the democratic organizational form of the polis , it saw its liberal ideals realized. The founding of the Berlin Bauakademie in 1799 was an eloquent expression of this development. The work of Karl Philipp Moritz at this institution and at the Akademie der Künste, where he was responsible for theoretical instruction and consideration, was of particular importance for further development took ancient architecture to a new level. Many artists and researchers only found their style or topic through a trip to Italy, including Johann Gottfried Schadow and Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Berlin . Particularly promising talents were sometimes even promoted by the Prussian state during the study trip, which was even agreed in 1859 with the travel grant of the German Archaeological Institute and has been maintained to this day.

Beginnings and early days: Shepherd and Toelken

When the Berlin University was founded in 1810, Aloys Hirt was one of the first professors to be appointed. His self-chosen title was that of full professor for the theory and history of the drawing arts . Thus archeology was an integral part of the university from the beginning. The focus of Hirt's research was architecture, the areas of archeology that went beyond that were less of Hirt's profession. First of all, he should also be appointed professor for beautiful architecture . Concentrating on architecture, Hirt was completely in the Berlin zeitgeist of classicism and was one of the central figures with a considerable influence in cultural and scientific life.

Like Hirt, Ernst Heinrich Toelken , who initially moved to Berlin from the University of Göttingen as a private lecturer in November 1814 , did not yet teach within a fixed system of seminars or institutes, but independently. The lecturers could also decide for themselves about the acceptance of the individual students. Toelken, like many other lecturers after him, initially covered his livelihood as a grammar school teacher at one of the traditional Berlin grammar schools such as the Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster , the Joachimsthal grammar school, the Friedrichswerder grammar school or the Kölln grammar school , and later also the Askan grammar school and the Luisenstadt grammar school . Thus, up to the first half of the 20th century, there was always contact with school operations, especially through younger academics at the beginning of their careers. Toelken was, as was customary at the beginning of the 19th century, a philologist and archaeologist in personal union. He also made important research contributions as a philosopher and art historian . In 1816 he was first an associate professor, from 1823 a full professor. For a long time he was also assistant director to Konrad Levezows , the first director of the antiquarian shop, the cabaret collection of the Berlin collection of ancient art, which was later merged into the Antikensammlung, thus establishing the almost one hundred year long connection between the University Office and the management or curatorial office of the Antikensammlung. In 1836 he finally followed Levezow as director of the antiquarian bookshop.

At the beginning of the university, archeology, which was generally still considered a sub-area of ​​philology, was overshadowed by philology. Friedrich August Wolf and above all August Boeckh had a lasting influence on the development of the humanities in Berlin. The importance of philology is reflected, among other things, in the fact that the university's first institute was the Philological Seminary, founded in 1812. For a long time it was the only institute of its kind at the university alongside the theological seminary. While archeology and philology were initially separated in Berlin because the first-time professors came from the arts, that should change from the next generation onwards. The Berlin University is an exception here, as archeology and philology tended to diverge more and more elsewhere, while in Berlin, at least for a time, an approach took place.

Development into a large scientific enterprise: Gerhard, Panofka and Curtius

Unsurprisingly, the first doctor at the young university was a philologist. In 1815 Eduard Gerhard , a student of Wolf and Boeckh, received his doctorate . His habilitation in Breslau was followed by years of traveling, which finally took him to Rome for the second time between 1922 and 1926, financed by the Prussian government . Here the philologist Gerhard finally became an archaeologist. He joined a circle of interested friends of antiquity, the Roman Hyperboreans , who became the nucleus of the Istituto di corrispondenza archeologica , which is now the German Archaeological Institute, founded in 1829 . When Gerhard went back to Berlin in 1832, the management of the institute went with him to Berlin, which is why the initially internationally oriented institute unintentionally became more and more a Prussian and finally a German state institute.

Gerhard initially worked primarily at the academy and, from 1833, initially as a curator ("archaeologist") at the museum. From 1835 he also took on teaching duties at the university as a reading academician . Seldom have the three parts of Berlin's archeological landscape been so reflected in one person, as he achieved significant achievements in all three institutions, museum, academy and university, although the areas of responsibility were not always separated from one another. Even in Rome it was clear to his circle that with the rapid increase in known artifacts due to both targeted and random excavations, an overview could only be kept if they were published as promptly and, above all, appropriately. The academy in particular became a major scientific enterprise under Gerhard's aegis, and many corpus works, which are still active today, were initiated. The collection of museum artefacts was also partly scientifically processed and published in an appropriate manner for the first time. In 1843 Gerhard became an associate professor, in 1844 a full professor of archeology and was thus the indirect successor of Hirts, who died in 1837.

In teaching at the university, Gerhard's claim to the well-educated archaeologist was a central concern of the training. He was happy to formulate his point of view in doctrines, the most famous being: “ Anyone who has seen a work of art has not seen any. Who has seen a thousand has seen one ”( Latin: Artis monumentum qui unum vidit nullum vidit, qui mille vidit, unum vidit. ). The scientific work should be done in three steps:

  • thorough autopsy, which leads to the most exact description possible
  • critical inspection of the material, classification and classification (location, style, technology, content)
  • Hermeneutics : with the involvement of the neighboring disciplines, all knowledge gained is brought together.

Theodor Panofka was only slightly in the shadow of his close friend Gerhard . Both knew each other from Rome and were joint driving forces behind the founding of the Istituto di corrispondenza archeologica . In 1827 he became a private lecturer at the University of Berlin (where he lived in Paris until 1835), in 1837 he was a reading academician and in 1848, finally, an associate professor of archeology. Panofka was also a member of the academy and from 1836 assistant director of the museum's sculpture department. In 1851 he replaced Christian Friedrich Tieck as director of the collection for sculptures and plaster casts , thus ending the time of directors who came from the art and not from science. After restructuring, he had to give up his position as director in 1855, now to Gerhard, and step back into the second row as assistant director.


  • Friedrich Matz the Younger : Archeology at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University from the founding of the Empire to 1945. In: Hans Leussink, Eduard Neumann and Georg Kotowski (editor): Studium Berolinense. Essays and contributions to problems of science and the history of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Berlin. (= Commemorative publication of the Free University of Berlin on the 150th anniversary of the founding year of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Berlin , Volume 2), De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 1960, pp. 581–613.
  • Adolf Borbein : Berlin and antiquity. In: Willmuth Arenhövel and Christa Schreiber (editors): Berlin and the ancient world. Essays. Architecture • Applied Arts • Painting • Sculpture • Theater and Science from the 16th Century to the Present. German Archaeological Institute (Wasmuth), Berlin 1979, pp. 99–150.
  • Adolf Borbein: Ernst Curtius, Alexander Conze, Reinhard Kekulé. Problems and Perspectives in Classical Archeology between Romanticism and Positivism. In: Karl Christ (editor): L'antichità nell'Ottocento in Italia e Germania. Antiquity in the 19th century in Italy and Germany. Soc. Ed. il Mulino / Duncker and Humblot, Berlin / Bologna 1988, ISBN 88-15-02077-2 (Italy) and ISBN 3-428-06524-7 (Germany), pp. 275-302.

Series: Winckelmann Institute of the Humboldt University of Berlin

  • Volume 1: Rolf Hurschmann : The sub-Italian vases of the Winckelmann Institute of the Humboldt University in Berlin. Arenhövel, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-922912-34-6 .
  • Volume 2: Henning Wrede : The archaeologist Eduard Gerhard 1795 - 1867 on his 200th birthday. Arenhövel, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-922912-43-5 .
  • Volume 3: Henning Wrede and Veit Stürmer : A museum on hold. The cast collection of ancient sculptures. Arenhövel, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-922912-46-X .
  • Volume 4: Stefanie Oehmke: The woman in the man. Hermaphroditos in Greco-Roman antiquity. Arenhövel, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-922912-59-1 .
  • Volume 5: Petra Schmitz-Pillmann: Landscape elements in the Minoan-Mycenaean wall painting. Arenhövel, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-922912-63-X .
  • Volume 6: Alfred Schäfer : Achill and Chiron. A Mythological Paradigm for the Instruction of the Male Youth of Athens. Arenhövel, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-922912-62-1 .
  • Volume 7: Sebastian Prignitz : The Pergamon Altar and the Pergamene School of Scholars. Arenhövel, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-922912-68-2 .

Web links

supporting documents

  1. Institutes and seminars are practically the same, unlike seminars, institutes usually need other aids in addition to a library, such as laboratories, in the case of archeology an image archive, usually a photo laboratory and the teaching collection, which meant a significant need for space and often money .
  2. Ordinary members of the academy had the right to give lectures at the university