Ranch, Christian Daniel

Ranch, Christian Daniel one of the most distinguished German sculptors, and noted for his work in the latter years of his life in sacred art, was born at Arolsen, the capital of the principality of Waldeck, in 1777. He began the study of sculpture as a boy, but the death of his father in 1797 obliged him to accept the humble but profitable position of valet to Frederick William II. king of Prussia. Under Frederick William III, who conceived a great liking for young Rauch, facilities for designing and modelling statues were afforded him, and he was even recommended as a pupil in the Academn of the Fine Arts. A statue of Endymion and a bust of queen Louisa of Prussia, executed at this time, convinced the king of Rauch's abilities; and although his request for dismissal had been repeatedly refused, he was now granted his request, and given a small pension in order to be enabled to proceed to Rome for further improvement. He spent six years in that city, working at hlis profession, and enjoyed the friendship of Thorwaldsen, Canova, and also of William Humboldt, at that time Prassian minister there. Among his works at this time were bass-reliefs of Hippolytus and Phoedra, a Mars and Venus wounded by Diomedes, a colossal bust of the king of Prussia, a bust of the painter Raphael Mengs, etc. In 1811 he was called by the king of Prussia to Berlin, to execute a monumental statue of queen Louisa. This great work obtained for Rauch a European reputation. It is in the mausoleum of the queen in the garden of Charlottenburg. Not quite satisfied with this triumph, he commenced a new statue of the queen, which he finished eleven years afterwards, and which is allowed to be a masterpiece of sculpture. It is placed in the palace of Sans-Souci, near Potsdam. Rauch, after this, lived principally at Berlin, but occasionally visited Rome, Carrara, and Munich. He labored indefatigably in his profession, and by 1824 had executed seventy busts in marble, of which twenty were of colossal size. He died at Dresden, while on a visit there, Dec. 3,1857. His greatest secular work is the magnificent monument of Frederick the Great, which adorns Berlin. His greatest work in sacred art is his Moses Group, in the entry of the Friedenskirche (Church of Peace) at Potsdam. It was begun in 1854 and finished in 1855, and is really his last great work. Noteworthy are also his group of the first two Polish lings in the cathedral at Posen, his statues of Schleiermacher and Kant, and his representations of Faith, Hope, and Love in the church at Arolsen.

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