Max von Widnmann
Birthplace of Max von Widnmann in Eichstätt

Max von Widnmann (ennobled as Maximilian Ritter von Widnmann; 16 October 1812 – 3 March 1895)[1] was a German sculptor and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Many of his works were commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Life and careerEdit

Max von Widnmann was born in Eichstätt, the youngest of three sons of Franz Amand Widnmann, who held the positions of court, town and regional physician, and his wife Maximiliana née Pöckhel, who was the widow of Franz Seraph Ulrich, who had also held appointments as town and local physician. After attending the gymnasium in Eichstätt, where he already showed aptitude for drawing and painting, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 1825. There he studied with Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler among others. His teachers made it possible for him to go to Rome from 1836 to 1839, and there he studied with and became a friend of Bertel Thorvaldsen, who was already a well-known sculptor.[1][2] He was also a friend of the Cologne architect Sulpiz Boisserée, whose art collection was acquired by Ludwig I for the Alte Pinakothek in 1827.

After returning from Rome, Widnmann became an independent artist in Munich, where Ludwig I soon began to commission works from him, including portrait busts for the Walhalla memorial near Regensburg. Ferdinand von Miller cast many of his sculptures in bronze.[3]

In 1849, Widnmann became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts,[2][4] succeeding Schwanthaler. His increasing recognition brought him many commissions from outside Bavaria. In 1849 he was made a member of the Order of St. Michael.[2] In 1887, the Prince Regent, Luitpold of Bavaria, personally ennobled him as a Knight of the Bavarian Crown.

He retired in 1887[1] and died in Munich at 82.

Widnmann's statues projected an air of dignity that appealed to his contemporaries and brought him many commissions; however, his smaller works, such as the busts, have been regarded as more artistically successful.[4][5] Some of his work was destroyed in the bombing of Munich during World War II.

Selected worksEdit

Portrait statuary by Max von Widnmann
Monument to Wolfgang Heribert von Dalberg, Mannheim
Schiller monument, Maximiliansplatz, Munich
Equestrian statue of Ludwig I, Odeonsplatz, Munich (1862)
Monument to Christoph von Schmid, Dinkelsbühl (1859)
Bust of Friedrich von Gärtner, Gärtnerplatz, Munich


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Th-B, "Widnmann, Max von, sculptor", Dictionary of German Biography, ed. Walther Killy and Rudolf Vierhaus, with Dietrich von Engelhardt et al., Volume 10 Thibaut – Zycha, Munich: Saur, 2006, ISBN 9783598233005, p. 498.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Widnmann, Max", Friedrich Mueller, Die Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker oder, Leben und Werke der berühmtesten Baumeister, Bildhauer, Maler, Kupferstecher, etc., Volume 3, Stuttgart: Ebner & Seubert, 1864, OCLC 680290293, p. 865 (in German)
  3. ^ See Angelika Mundorff and Eva von Seckendorff, eds., Die Millers: Aufbruch einer Familie, Munich: Allitera, 2006, ISBN 9783865201874 (in German), including list of works.
  4. ^ a b c "Widnmann, Max, Bildhauer", Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 1897 ed., Volume 17, p. 720 (in German)
  5. ^ a b "Widnmann, Max", Encyclopedia Americana, 1920 ed., Volume 29, p. 296.
  6. ^ "Giesskunst", J.A. Romberg and Friedrich Faber, Conversations-Lexicon für bildende Kunst, volume 3, Leipzig: Romberg, 1850, OCLC 1443119, p. 74 (in German)
  7. ^ a b Wilhelm Lübke, tr. F.E. Bunnett, History of Sculpture: From the Earliest Ages to the Present Time, London: Smith, Elder, 1872, OCLC 2274613, Volume 2, p. 465.
  8. ^ "Ludwig 1. und sein Isar-Athen", Alchemia Spectrum 2, January 2000, pp. 5–9, p. 7 (pdf) (in German)

Further readingEdit

  • Siegmund Freiherr von Pölnitz. "Max von Widnmann. Das Leben eines Künstlers unter König Ludwig I". Sammelblatt des Historischen Vereins Eichstätt 55 (1940) 3–19, 56/57 (1941/42) (in German)
  • Edwart Mager. "Max von Widnmann. Ein vergessener Eichstätter Künstler". Historische Blätter für Stadt und Landkreis Eichstätt 27.2 (1978) (in German)

External linksEdit