‘Drei Giganten umfassen die Welt’
Three giants of all life ages carrying the world designed 1895 in the then requested style of Historicism by Prussian sculptor Ernst Wenck who later went on to become a member of the Berlin Secession.
On the sides flanked by allegories of transportation and science having each their companion pointing to the emblem in the middle depicting the imperial eagle, making clear who enables them to strive. Originally the emblem was also headed by a crown which got removed after the war leaving an odd empty space in front of the giants’ pedestal.
The striking 6 meter bronze sculpture captured me on a stroll through Berlin after a visit of the Jewish Museum. It tops the entry of the Museum for Communication formerly named Reichspostmuseum. Built as the oldest of its kind as an add-on to the general post office to express the Prussian need to highlight their patronage of postal infra structure.
Ernst M. Hake, the other Prussian master architect for post office buildings after Carl Schwatlo was chosen to draft the building and construction took from 1893 to 1898 until the whole thing got finished. Between world wars the museum was closed down and when in 1944 heavy damage through bombs occurred, it seemed that doors would never open again. Curiously the bronze sculpture only disappeared in the 60s. I couldn’t quite track down why. There is only to guess that maybe Communist government of DDR did so in an attempt of political iconoclasm and as an persisting aftermath of being ashamed of 19th century monumental show-off architecture despite reinstating a heavy-handed visual language themselves. Apparently after a short craze at the end of the 19th century where strong men with globes on their shoulders became a sight on every major building people wearied very soon and got rid of the globes. Only few remain in existence till today.
Therefore the current giants are one to one replicas of the Historicist original. It took famous sculptor Achim Kühn 5 years to recreate the massive figurehead using a still existing smaller model as a guide. In 1997 eventually the finished sculpture was ready to be hauled on top of a restored “Postmuseum”.