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German & Austrian Sculptures

Germany is a country with a rich artistic history, though defining the country’s borders was a notoriously difficult process. Since Germany has only been a united single country since the 19th century, German art from earlier periods can often include works produced in German-speaking regions such as Austria.

Sculpture has played an important role in Germany’s production of fine art since the prehistoric era, which produced the earliest examples of Upper Paleolithic art as well as figurative sculptures of the human form. During the Renaissance, Catholic parts of south Germany made great use of wood carving until the end of the 18th century. A dark period in Germany’s production of fine art came when the Nazi regime banned modern art, condemning it as degenerate art, and in the process exiling many avant-garde German artists.

Today, Germany is a hub of contemporary art including sculpture. Berlin in particular is a popular destination for many artists.

Quick Facts

  • In the middle ages, Charlemagne commissioned a life-size gold figure of Christ on a crucifix for his Palatine Chapel in Aachen
  • German performance artist and sculptor Joseph Beuys was perhaps the most influential German artist of the late 20th century. He helped redefine the concept of art with his now-famous expression “Everyone is an artist”
  • German sculptor and printmaker Kathe Kollwitz was greatly influenced by Expressionism, a movement originating in Germany in the early 20th century

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