Quadriga of Victory

Quadriga of Victory, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Public Art : Quadriga of Victory

Sculptor : © Johann Gottfried Schadow

Date : 1793

Description : A bronze statue of the Goddess of Victory on a chariot drawn by four horses. In her hand she holds a staff with an eagle perched on the Iron Cross.

Location : The Brandenburg Gate is located between the Pariser Platz and the Platz des 18 on the former border between East & West Germany, Berlin

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dr Andrew Taylor kindly providing the photographs.

History of the Quadriga of Victory : In 1793 Johann Gottifried Schadow created the Quadriga for the Brandenburg Gate. A quadriga is a four-horse chariot, which was onced raced in the Olympic Games and then was later adopted in ancient Roman chariot racing. It was a great symbol of triumph, victory and fame. The quadrigais usually depicted with a female driving it. In 1806, during French Occupation (and following the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt), the Quadriga of Victory was stolen.  Napolean had the sculpture dismantled and taken back to Paris, France. It was later returned to Berlin by Field Marshal Gebhard von Blucher in 1814. On its return to Berlin the goddess's olive wreath was replaced by a staff bearing the Prussian eagle perched on the iron cross.
The gate was heavily damaged during World War II and was later restored in 1957-58. The Quadriga was also damaged and was recast from the original molds.

History of the Brandenburg Gate : The Brandenburg Gate is a Triumphal Arch and stands on the former border between East & West Germany in the city of Berlin. The Neo-classical gate was designed by Carl Gatthard Langhans and  was erected from 1788-1793 as a "Gate of Peace". The gate was inspired by the Propylaea, the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. The structure is crowned by the "Quadriga of Victory", a statue of a chariot drawn by four horses. The Doric gateway once served as a customs port.
From 1961 to 1989 the gate was blocked as the construction of the Berlin Wall divided East and West Berlin .The gate was reopened in 1989 with the reunification of East & West Berlin. In the year 2000, the Brandenburg Gate was privately refurbished at a cost of $3 million.

Brandenburg Gate, Quadriga of Victory, Berlin, Germany, 1945Brandenburg Gate, Quadriga of Victory, Berlin, Germany, 2006
      Brandenburg Gate 1945        Brandenburg Gate 2006 

      

Quadriga Trivia :

A quadriga is a chariot drawn by four horses which were often raced during the Ancient Olympic Games. Quadrigas became symbols of Victory and Triumph and are often depicted with either Victory (Victoria) or Fame (Pheme or Fama) behind the reigns of the chariot. Victory being the Roman Goddess and Fame being the Greek equivilent. In mythology the quadriga is the chariot of the gods. Apollo is often depicted driving his quadriga across the heavens.

All modern quadrigas are based on the Triumphal Quadriga or Horses of St Mark's in Venice.This being the only surviving quadriga from ancient times. The Venetian crusaders stole them in 1204 during the crusades from the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Nearly 500 years later Napoleon stole the horses from the Venetians and carted them off to Paris. They were later returned in 1815.

So Where Are All The Quadrigas ?

Brussels, Belgium - Quadriga of Brabant atop Parc du Cinquantenaire, by sculptors Thomas Vincotte and Jules Lagae.

London, England - Wellington Arch Quadriga atop the Wellington Arch, by sculptor Adrian Jones

Paris, France - Carrousel quadriga atop the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, by sculptor Baron Francois Joseph Bosio.

Paris , France - Two quadrigas atop the Grand Palais, Georges Récipon

Berlin, Germany - Quadriga of Victory atop the Brandenburg Gate, by sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow.

Braunschweig, Germany - Quadriga atop the Royal Palace

Dresden, Germany - Panther Quadriga atop the Semperoper

Munich, German - A lion quadriga atop the Siegestor (Victory Gate), by sculptor Martin von Wagner

Rome, Italy - Quadriga dell'Unità atop the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, by sculptor Carlo Fontana

Venice, Italy - Triumphal Quadriga, St Mark's Basilica, (Oldest surviving quadriga)

Moscow, Russia - Quadriga atop the Bolshoi Theatre, sculptor Peter Clodt von Jurgensburg

Saint Petersburg, RussiaGeneral Staff building Quadriga

Saint Petersburg, Russia - Quadriga atop the Alexandrinsky Theater

Brooklyn, New York, USA - Quadriga atop the arch at Grand Army Plaza, by sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies.

Detroit, Michigan, USA - Victory and Progress quadriga atop the Wayne County Building, by sculptor J. Massey Rhind.

Minnesotta, USA - Progress of the State quadriga atop the Minnesota State Capitol, by sculptors Daniel Chester French and Edward Clark Potter

 

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