Statues - Hither & Thither

Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Hessen

Roßmarkt

Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks

Monument to the Invention of Book Printing

known as Gutenberg-Denkmal
Gutenberg Monument
Eduard Schmidt von der Launitz
1854-58

Frankfurt am Main /  Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks   Frankfurt am Main /  Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks

Description

The Monument to the Invention of Book Printing as it was called in the 19th century is nowadays more known after the central figure, Gutenberg Monument. The Gothic-style sandstone structure includes five different programs of sculpture illustrating various facets of printing. Starting at the top of the monument these are:

  1. Gutenberg and his companions
  2. Important printers
  3. Early centers of book printing
  4. The intellectual interests which most profited from book printing
  5. The distribution of book printing over the four continents

A. Gutenberg and his companions

Three bronze statues, representing Gutenberg, with on his right side Hans Fust and on his left Peter Schöffer.

  1. Johannes Gutenberg, (Mainz c. 1398 - 1468), German goldsmith, credited with being the inventor of the mechanical printing press (Wikipedia).
  2. Hans Fust, (Mainz c. 1400 - Paris 1466), early German printer a goldsmith, lawyer, and money lender. On account of his connection with Gutenberg, he has been called the inventor of printing, and the instructor as well as the partner of Gutenberg, others see him as Gutenberg's patron and benefactor (Wikipedia).
  3. Peter Schöffer, (Gernsheim c. 1425 - Mainz 1503), German printer, studied in Paris and worked as a manuscript copyist in 1451 before apprenticing with Johannes Gutenberg and joining Johann Fust, a goldsmith, lawyer, and money lender (Wikipedia).

    Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
    1
    Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
    2
    Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
    3

B. Important printers

At the top of the monument is a frieze featuring 14 busts of famous printers, publishers and booksellers (and, at special request of the monument committee, the sculptor).

Starting with the small south side (under Fust):
  1. Johannes Mentelin (Sélestat c. 1410 - Strasbourg 1478), pioneering German book printer and bookseller; in 1466, he published the first printed Bible in the German language, the Mentelin Bible. (Wikipedia).
  2. Laurens Jansz. Coster (Haarlem c. 1370 - c. 1440), purported inventor of a printing press; he discovered printing simultaneously with Johannes Gutenberg and is regarded in the Netherlands as having invented printing first (Wikipedia).
  3. William Caxton (c. 1415 - 1492), English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. He is thought to be the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England, which he did in 1476 (Wikipedia).
  4. Aldus Pius Manutius (Aldo Manuzio; Bassiano 1449 - Venice 1515), Italian humanist who became a printer and publisher when he founded the Aldine Press at Venice (Wikipedia).
  5. Paulus Manutius (Paolo Manuzio; Venice 1512 - Rome 1574), Venetian printer with a humanist education, the third son of the famous printer Aldus Manutius (Wikipedia).
  6. Christian Egenolff (Hadamar 1502 - Frankfurt am Main 1555), the first important printer and publisher operating from Frankfurt am Main (Wikipedia).
  7. Sigmund Feyerabend (1528 - 1590), bookseller at Frankfurt am Main (Wikipedia).
  8. Johann Andreae der Jüngere (Frankfurt am Main 1626 - id. 1683), printer in Frankfurt am Main (Deutsche Biographie).
  9. Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf (Clausthal 1695 - Leipzig 1777), German printer and publisher, and founder of the publisher that became Breitkopf & Härtel. (Wikipedia).
  10. Firmin Didot (Paris 1764 - Mesnil-sur-l’Estrée, Eure 1836), French printer, engraver, and type founder. He invented the word "stereotype", which in printing refers to the metal printing plate created for the actual printing of pages (as opposed to printing pages directly with movable type), and used the process extensively, revolutionizing the book trade by his cheap editions (Wikipedia).
  11. Giambattista Bodoni (Saluzzo, Piemont 1740 - Parma 1813), Italian typographer, type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher in Parma (Wikipedia).
  12. Friedrich Koenig (Eisleben 1774 - Oberzell 1833), German inventor best known for his high-speed printing press, which he built together with watchmaker Andreas Friedrich Bauer (Wikipedia).
  13. Andreas Friedrich Bauer (Stuttgart 1783 - Würzburg 1860) German engineer who developed the first functional steam-powered printing press with his colleague Friedrich Koenig, who had invented the technology and sold it to The Times in London in 1814 (Wikipedia).
  14. Eduard Schmidt von der Launitz (Grobin/Kurland 1797 - Frankfurt am Main 1869), sculptor of the monument (Wikipedia).

Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
1
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
2
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
3
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
4
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
5
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
6
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
7
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
8
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
9
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
10
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
11
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
12
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
13
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
14

The above list follows the description in Förster, Denkmale deutscher Baukunst of 1869. Except for one, this list agrees with that in Frankfurt und seine Bauten (1886). Here no. 9 is listed as Carl Christoph Traugott Tauchnitz (1761-1836). The website Kunst im öffentlichen Raum gives a different list: Will Caxton, Aldus Manutius, Estienne, Hans Luft, Egenolph, Elzevir, Feierabend, Breitkopf, Bodoni, Didot, Tauchnitz, Brönner, Andreae and König. These are the names given in the description of Berger (1840) and in the 1840 Gedenk-Buch, these describe however the temporary monument made of wood, plaster and linen, which was placed on the Roßmarkt for the festivities of the 400th anniversary of the invention of book printing. The bronze and sandstone monument, made in the 1850s, is in some details different from this temporary monument (this is described by Förster).

C. Early centers of book printing

On the four faces of the plinth are allegorical figures with coats-of-arms of the early centers of book printing, Mainz, Strasbourg, Frankfurt and Venice.

Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Mainz
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Venice
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Strasbourg

Below these are sandstone reliefs of coats-of-arms of Gutenberg, Fust and Schöffer and a text on the back side.

Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Gutenberg
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Fust
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Schöffer

Zu Ehren
der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkunst
errichtet
bei der vierten Säkularfeier
am 24. juni 1840.

D. The intellectual interests which most profited from book printing

The statues stand on a with on the corners sitting allegorical figures of theology, poetry, natural sciences and industry - the main causes for the invention of the time-honoured art of book-printing.

  1. Poesie / Poetry, with a lyra.
  2. Naturforschung / Natural sciences, with a globe
  3. Industrie / Industry, with a cog wheel and a writing tablet.
  4. Theologie / Theology, with a book and a scroll.

Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
1
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
2
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
3
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
4

E. The distribution of book printing over the four continents

Below the allegories are fountain basis in which water is spouting from four animal heads representing the four continents, symbolizing the knowledge of book printing spread out to all four continents.

Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Europa - Stier
Europe - Bull
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Amerika - Lama
America - Lama
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Asien - Elephant
Asia - Elefant
Frankfurt am Main - Denkmal der Erfindung des Buchdrucks
Afrika - Löwe
Africa - Lion

Signature

(allegory Industrie, Poesie and Naturforschung) Ed. de Launitz mod
(allegory Poesie and Naturforschung) Ausgef. von der | Galvanobronzenfabrik München | (Würt. M.W. Fahr. Geislingen.)

Information Sign

Gutenberg-Denkmal

A... des Jahres 1840 fand in Frankfurt die 400 Jahrfeier zur
Erfindung des Buchdrucks durch Johannes Gutenberg (um 1400-1468) statt.
Der Bildhauer Eduard Schmidt von der Launitz (1797-1869) hatte zu diesem
Anlass eine Dreiergruppe im Verfahren der Galvanoplastik in Szene gesetzt. Sie
besteht aus den Abbildungen Johannes Gutenberg - mit Buch und Lettern -
sowie seiner Mitarbeiter und Geldgeber Johannes Fust - mit Büchern im Arm -
und Peter Schöffer mit Pragehammer.
Die vier sitzenden allegorischen Figuren verkörpern Theologie, Poesie
Naturwisschenschaft und Industrie. Am oberen Sandsteinsockel befinden sich
14 Porträtköpfe berühmter europäischer Buchdrucker der frühen Neuzeit,
darunter Henry Estienne, William Caxton, Christian Egenolff, Louis Elzevier,
und Aldus Manutius. Die stehenden Figuren am Sockel tragen die Wappenschilder
der Zentren des frühen Buchdrucks und Buchhandels: Frankfurt, Venedig,
Straßburg und Mainz.

Gutenberg-Monument

On Midsummerday of the year 1840 the 400th anniversary of the invention
of printing from movable type by Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1400-1468) was
commemorated in Frankfurt. To pay tribute to the event the sculptor Edward
Schmidt von der Launitz (1797-1869) created a group of three figures using
galvano-technology. Depicted are Johannes Gutenberg - with book and letters -
and his colleagues and financial backers Johannes Fust - with books on his
arm - and Peter Schöffer - with stamping hammer.
The four allegoric figures seated symbolize theology, poetry, natural sciences
and industry. The upper sandstone pedestal bears 14 portraits of renowned
European printers of early modern times. They include Henry Estienne, William
Caxton, Christian Egenolff, Louis Elzevier and Adus Manullus?. The standing
figures shown on the pedestal hold the escutcheons of the centres of the early
book printing and book trade: Frankfurt, Venice, Strasbourg and Mainz.

Annotation

This memorial was inaugurated on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the invention of printing by movable type and commemorates its creator, Johannes Gutenberg.

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Cattle (bull / cow / calf)
  • Caxton, William
  • Coat of arms
  • Continents, Four
  • Coster, Laurens Jansz.
  • Didot, Firmin
  • Egenolff, Christian
  • Elephant
  • Europe (continent)
  • Feyerabend, Sigmund
  • Fountain
  • Frankfurt am Main (allegory)
  • Fust, Johann
  • Gutenberg, Johannes
  • Industry
  • Koenig, Friedrich
  • Lama
  • Launitz (bust), Eduard Schmidt von der
  • Launitz, Eduard Schmidt von der
  • Lion
  • Mainz (allegory)
  • Manutius, Aldus Pius
  • Manutius, Paulus
  • Mentelin, Johannes
  • Poetry (allegory)
  • Printer
  • Schöffer, Peter
  • Science (allegorical figure)
  • Strasbourg (allegory)
  • Theology
  • Venezia (allegory)
  • Location (N 50°6'44" - E 8°40'35")

    eXTReMe Tracker
    Item Code: dehs166; Photograph: 28 September 2014
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt