1830 - 1845
The first Beethoven monument
Briefly after the composer's death, the cities of Bonn and Vienna felt the desire to put up a monument for
Beethoven. As it was rather unusual to erect a monument in honour of an artist who had just died, the memorial
should be fairly modern.
As a result, Vienna artist Friedrich von Amerling (1803-1887) and sculptor Ernst Julius Hähnel (1811-1891) from Dresden chose to depict Beethoven in contemporary clothing in their drafts. To express the composer's creative achievements, both artists portrayed Beethoven while composing and holding a writing feather in his right hand.
While it would take another 40 years until a Beethoven monument was finally erected in Vienna, the city of Bonn had a monument put up already in 1845.The ceremonial unveiling of the memorial was preceded by a long and arduous process of creation characterised by many disputes among the members of the monument committee. The involved musicians, historians and artists had fairly different opinions about how a monument for Beethoven should look like.
After many tries, Julius Hähnel was finally able to convince the Bonn committee in favour of his concept which included a Beethoven statue on a high pedestal adorned with allegorical reliefs. After Franz Liszt eased the project's financial problems through a generous contribution, the monument could finally be completed. Its unveiling was celebrated with a several day long music festival which founded the tradition of the still existing Beethoven festivals in Bonn.