Central Park

Friedrich Von Schiller Monument

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This bronze portrait bust depicts German dramatist, poet and historian Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805), and was the first sculpture installed in Central Park.  

This commemorative piece, sculpted by C.L. Richter, is based on an earlier marble bust sculpted by German artist Heinrich Dannecker in 1805. New York’s German-American community donated the piece, which was dedicated on November 1859, the centennial of Schiller’s birth, during a three-day festival in New York commemorating Schiller. After its dedication, German-Americans continued to extend their patronage, and in 1869 they donated a sculpture of German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1813-1874) located at Central Park West and 77th Street, followed by a bust of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1884 located at the northern end of the Central Park Mall. Other groups soon began to sponsor monuments celebrating their own ethnic and national origin, and Central Park quickly became a gallery of German, Danish, Italian, Spanish and Latin-American history and culture.  

Writer of the plays Wilhelm TellMary Stuart, Don Carlos, and Wallenstein, both Schiller’s literary and human rights work were admired at home and abroad. In 1792, France acknowledged Schiller’s humanitarian efforts by awarding him citizenship in its new republic.

In 1955, Parks moved the Schiller bust from its original location in Central Park’s wooded Ramble to its present site on the Mall opposite the Naumburg Bandshell, and its fragile brownstone pedestal was replaced with a more durable granite base. In 1992, the Central Park Conservancy restored the Schiller monument.

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