Location: 71st Street, mid-Park
Artist/Designer: C. L. Richter
Materials: Bronze, Saguenan red granite
Funding: Cannstatter Volkfest Verin (a gift of German-Americans)
Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) began his professional life as a military doctor in what is now Germany. He rose to fame, however, as a poet, dramatist, lover of nature, and social critic who advocated for the rights of man. Schiller’s poem “An Die Freude” or “Ode to Joy” was the inspiration for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and provides the lyrics for its choral movement.
Ode to Joy (3rd stanza)
All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste her gift:
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine.
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!
German-Americans were proud of their kinsman’s accomplishments and raised the funds to provide Central Park with its very first statue. Given Schiller’s love of nature, it seemed appropriate to place his likeness in the Ramble. A century later, in 1955, Schiller was moved to join other memorial statues in the formal part of the Park. He is now at home in the original Concert Ground, near Beethoven.
Friedrich von Schiller
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