SILHOUETTES FROM THE FRIENDSHIP ALBUM OF GREGORIUS VON BERZEVICZY, Artist unknown, around 1784–1786, silhouettes, Art Collection of the University of Göttingen
The twelve silhouettes displayed here are from the friendship album owned by the Hungarian student Gregorius von Berzeviczy (1763 -1822). During his studies at Göttingen, he collected 41 silhouettes of the then-active professors in Göttingen, some of their wives, as well as those of some renowned fellow students.
From the 17th century onwards, new places of knowledge had arisen through princely courts, academies and scholarly salons, which offered certain opportunities for women, especially those coming from noble backgrounds. Yet, the path to the university was still reserved for men. Dorothea von Schlözer (1770-1825) overcame the first hurdle on the way to a university
David Hilbert (1862-1943) looks up from his desk and stares at the viewers of his portrait directly in the eyes, as if his reading session had only just been briefly interrupted. It is noteworthy that Hilbert’s 1928 painting was executed as a classical oil painting and was thus created at a time when photography was
A portrait book is not a neutral compilation but a selection. It puts certain people into a group and excludes others from it. The selection only follows the individual criteria of the publishers on a superficial level. After all, contemporary ideas of belonging matter as well. This shows itself particularly momentously in the time of
With the advent of photography in the second half of the 19th century new pictorial motifs were created. In addition to studio shots, there was a steady increase of scholars being depicted in private environments. Compositions of couples were a particularly popular motif. The images transport a contemporary gender relationship, that assigns men and women
The doctorate of Dorothea von Schlözer caused upheaval far beyond Göttingen. Many of her contemporaries saw it as a transgression of current gender roles. This included former Göttingen student Wilhelm Friedrich August Mackensen (1768-1798) who recalled dismissively: Schlözer would lose her femininity over her learnedness. He was particularly offended by the fact that even during
In the course of the 19th century, the images of scientists started to diverge from their ancient models, where the ruler was typically shown in profile—his individuality less important than his representation of power. The medal dedicated to the French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889) from 1886 shows him on the front also in profile, his
On the occasion of their 50th anniversary of service, a medal was donated to the jurist Georg Ludwig Böhmer (1715-1797) and the teacher of constitutional law Johann Stephan Pütter (1725-1807). On the double portrait of the medal, it shows the relationship between conformity and individuality, typical for the representation of professors in the 18th century.
Since antiquity, the moulding of the face of a deceased individual has been part of a culture of remembrance. The direct contact with the body, of which the mask is an image, gives the whole process a special authenticity. Sometimes even the hair of the deceased is preserved in the plaster: the border between the