A New Story for Sleeping Beauty

By P. Bogart | 2015/01/06 - 10:49:38


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The peaceful and sweet image of Sleeping Beauty, surrounded by delicate Rose branches, remains in the ostentatious marble chair where German sculptor Louis-Sussmann Hellborn has placed her, over one hundred years ago. At her feet, the metal spindle stands out, reminding us of what led her to this terrible fate.

Hellborn's name seems to be lost in history, but in 1878, when he created this piece, he was actually an acknowledged artist and a prominent figure in Berlin, with enough money to sponsor the arts (he was one of the founders of the Royal Museum of Decorative Arts) and create big marble sculptures like this one.

As Beauty was sleeping, Germany was awaking from a recent revolution act, the German unification after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Nationalist symbols were more than welcome and Sleeping Beauty, immortalized by the hands of the German Brothers Grimm, was an ideal image. The truth is the fairytale authors adapted it from a story by French writer Charles Perrault, who also collected his tale from another author, Italian Giambattista Basile.

This memorable fairy tale comes from numerous folk tales, none of them German, but Sleeping Beauty remains as the main character of a classical Germanic story, sleeping beside the stairs of Berlin's National Gallery. 
Sleeping Beauty, created in 1878 by Louis Sussmann-Hellborn (1828-1908). Old National Gallery, Berlin
CC-BY / Miguel Hermoso Cuesta
Sleeping Beauty (detail), created in 1878 by Louis Sussmann-Hellborn (1828-1908). Old National Gallery, Berlin
CC-BY / Miguel Hermoso Cuesta
Sleeping Beauty, created in 1878 by Louis Sussmann-Hellborn (1828-1908). Old National Gallery, Berlin
CC-BY / Miguel Hermoso Cuesta
Sleeping Beauty (detail), created in 1878 by Louis Sussmann-Hellborn (1828-1908). Old National Gallery, Berlin
CC-BY / Miguel Hermoso Cuesta
Sleeping Beauty, created in 1878 by Louis Sussmann-Hellborn (1828-1908). Old National Gallery, Berlin
CC-BY / Mutter Erde

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