Gottfried Semper, photo
Semper, Gottfried, b. Hamburg-Altona (Germany), Nov. 29, 1803, d. Rome (Italy), May 15, 1879. Architect and art theorist. Studied in Göttingen and Munich, then worked in Regensburg and 1826-1830 in Paris; subsequently trips to Italy and Greece, where he proved that antique works were polychrome; professor in Dresden in 1834; met R. Wagner. S. had to flee in 1849 because of his participation in the uprisings of 1848 and went to Paris and London, where he worked for the World Exhibition in 1851. Taught in Zurich from 1855-1871. In 1869 consultant for the construction of the Vienna court museums. He was finally commissioned to build the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Burgtheater (including the depot of stage properties) and the Court Museums with C. von Hasenauer. Moved to Vienna in 1871, in 1876 withdrew from building site supervision after differences with Hasenauer and spent most of the rest of his life in Rome. S. was the most important architect and theorist of Historicism in the German-speaking countries after K.F. Schinkel. He had great influence on European theatre construction and the establishment of museums of arts and crafts and contributed considerably to the spread of neo-Renaissance.
Further works: Dresden: synagogue, 1840; opera, 1841 (burnt down in 1869, reconstruction with his son Manfred S. in 1878, destroyed in 1945, reconstructed in 1985); paintings' gallery, 1855. - Switzerland: Eidgenössisches Polytechnikum university in Zurich, 1864; townhouse in Winterthur, 1870. - Villas, sketches (town planning, arts and crafts). - Publications: Vorläufige Bemerkungen über bemalte Architektur und Plastik bei den Alten, 1834; Wiss., Ind. und Kunst, 1852; Der Stil in den techn. und tecton. Künsten, 2 vols., 1860/1863.
Literature: G. S., exhibition catalogue, Munich 21980; M. Fröhlich, G. S., 1991; H. Laudel, G. S. Architektur und Stil, 1991; M. Fröhlich, G. S., 1991; H. F. Mallgrave, G. S. Architect of the 19th Century, 1996.