Portrait of Hermann Volz circa 1900

Success in the empireHermann Volz

The important tombs of Ludwig Wilhelm, Friedrich I, and Luise, which can be seen in the Sepulchral Chapel of the Grand Duchy in Karlsruhe, were created by Hermann Volz (1847–1941). The sculptor and professor was one of the most important creators of sculpture in Baden in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Why was Volz awarded the contract for the tombs?

At the time, Volz was already a famous and experienced sculptor, a master of both stone and bronze. He had also been a professor at the school of the arts in Karlsruhe, the "Academy of Fine Arts," since 1892. For the court of Baden, he had already created two busts of Grand Duchess Luise and Prince Ludwig Wilhelm. Therefore, being tasked with creating a tomb in memory of their beloved son came as no surprise.

The Sepulchral Chapel of the Grand Duchy in Karlsruhe, funerary monuments of Grand Duke Friedrich I and Grand Duchess Luise

The tombs of Grand Duke Friedrich I and Grand Duchess Luise.

What explains this sculptor's great success?

Volz was extraordinarily skillful at depicting people, as is especially clear in the marble figures in the sepulchral chapel, which move visitors with their lifelike expressions to this day. He also specialized in a topic that was in high demand in the 19th century: the public memorial. After the death of Wilhelm I in 1888, Volz received several orders for memorials honoring the deceased emperor.

Memorial of Margrave Wilhelm von Hermann Volz, 1901, in Karlsruhe, Hans-Thoma-Strasse

This memorial was created by Hermann Volz in 1901.

What else did Volz create?

Volz worked far beyond the boundaries of Karlsruhe and Baden. His monuments to the emperor were erected throughout Germany. In the competition for the equestrian monument to Wilhelm I in Karlsruhe, he won first prize, though the monument was ultimately carried out by Adolf Heer. In Karlsruhe, his preserved works include his monuments for Margrave Wilhelm von Baden (1829–1897), for the poet Joseph Victor von Scheffel (1826–1886), and the philanthropist and entrepreneur Christoph Friedrich Lidell (1720–1793).

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