Language variant : Brandenburg Gate
Architect : Langhans, Carl Gotthard
Locality : Berlin
Country : Germany
Building style : Neoclassicism
Project on the map (green arrow)
It was at the king’s suggestion, that Langhans adopted the Greek propylae as the basis for the design of the Brandenburg Gate in 1789. It was to be the first monument of the Greek Revival, which played a vital role in German architecture. Widely admired at the time as an essentially honest building, it played an important part in the emerging interpretation of Neo-classicism in Germany.
The Gate is by no means a copy of the Greek original, Athenian Propylae (the gateway to the Acropolis). It has a lighter flavour.
The baseless Greek Doric would have seemed shockingly bare to Langhans’ contemporaries. He thus gives the columns bases and also introduces demi-metopes at the ends of the frieze, an entirely Roman practice; he runs columns all the way round the side pavilions instead of leaving their end walls blank as at the Propylaea; and he replaces the pediment of the Greek original with a raised attic fronted with an unusual tiered platform supporting an enormous quadriga. This great winged figure of Victory driving his chariot is by J.G. Schadow.
The Brandenburg Gate was an eye-catching monument which was seen as a fulfillment of the ambitions of Winckelmann concerning the imitation of Greek art.
Watkin, David & Mellinghof, Tilman: German Architecture and the Classical Ideal 1740–1840. Thames and Hudson, London 1987, p. 62.
Ed. Heikki Nikkinen