Reference and background

The by the classicistic scluptor Johann Gottfried Shadow in 1739 created Quadriga on top of the Brandenburg Gate constitues a strong reference point for the Berlin group of works by the artist Gustavo Aceves. Shadow referred with the design and size of his works to the four horses of San Marco in Venice. This ancient Quadriga, of which the exact age and origin is still disputed, was brought to Venice in 1204 after the pillage of Constantinople, where it was presumable shown in the Hippodrom. Probably from the first century after Christ, its history is also characterized by war and prey. Its path leaded from the triumphal arch of Nero in the 4th century after Constantinople, to where the emperor Constantine brought almost all of the bronze sculptures, and from there to Venice in the 13th century.

Already right after their completition Berlin’s Quadriga was brought to Paris and has been used from 1806 on for eight years as a war trophy of Napoleon. Not before 1814 it returned with a triumphal procession back to its original place. In the Second World War the original was almost completely destroyed. Only a fragmented head remained and is nowadays displayed in the Märkisches Museum. The Quadriga had to be reconstructed; a copy was created in the foundry Noack in West-Berlin during the Cold War. During the New Year’s Eve celebrations in 1989/90 it was partly destroyed. Subsequent inquests showed substantial damages. The Quadriga was again deconstructed and extensively restored.

The classicistic Brandenburg Gate, once the access to the royal hunting grounds and the border of the city, became in the 20th century the site of wartime destruction, division of the city of Berlin and Germany and last but not least the reunification.