Adolph von Menzel

* 08.12.1815 in Wrocław; ✝ 09.02.1905 in Berlin

Painter, Draughtsman, Illustrator, Honorary Citizen of Berlin and Breslau



Adolph Menzel began working at the early age of fourteen in the lithographic press owned by his father, and went on to direct it after the latter’s death in 1832. He attended the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in 1833 and 1834, where he made the acquaintance, and won the support of, the wallpaper manufacturer, Carl Heinrich Arnold. His earliest works are illustrations and lithographs, of which he had produced 400 by 1842. His sketches for wood-cut illustrations to accompany Franz Kugler’s Geschichte Friedrichs des Großen made Menzel’s name as a historical specialist and expert on Frederick. 

He honoured Shakespeare with the print Der Dichter Shakespeare, which took the Stratford bust as its inspiration. Von Menzel furthermore worked together with von Grützner and von Piloty on a collected volume of visual representations of Shakespeare drama (Shakespeare-Gallerie, 1886). As an oil-painter he distinguished himself with works such as The Balcony Room or the never-finished The Laying in State of the March Dead. The apotheosis of his artistic career was Adolf von Menzel’s eventual elevation to the aristocracy as a Knight of the Black Order.





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Citation and Licence

Menzel, Adolph von, in: The Digital Shakespeare Memorial Album. Edited by Christa Jansohn. URI: (Accessed on 27.02.2024)

This text is published under the following licence: CC BY-ND 3.0 DE. Digitzed media reproduced with the permission of the library of Birmingham.

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