Sculptor of Swiss origin, but he moved with his family to London when he was ten. In 1763 he moved on to the Copenhagen academy of art. Numerous changes of base followed - Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Switzerland and Rome - until he finally settled in Rome. When the news of the death of Frederick the Great reached him there in 1786, Trippel designed a wax model of a memorial to the king, while Schadow was doing just the same in his workshop. Both works was conceived as equestrian statues modeled more or less on the statue of Marcus Aurelius. Trippel s design was clearly more interesting, because, though it did not get him the commission, it gained him honorary membership of the Prussian Academy of Arts. In his model, the notion first appears of adding sculptures of the nation s leading figures to the base of the equestrian statue. The idea would be put into practice almost 600 years later in Rauch s memorial.
Trippel s best known work today is the outsize bust of Goethe
in the princely Residenz at Bad Arolsen in Waldeck.
As Winckelmann proposed, Trippel turned directly to the models of classical Antiquity for inspiration, and in doing so left the pictorial language of the Rococo far behind. He thus became, along with Canova, one of the main representatives of early Neoclassicism in Rome, and a source of considerable influence and ideas for the next generation of sculptors.
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