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4.0 out of 5 stars

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 March 2013
TeNeues's eighty-page book on Karl Friedrich Schinkel in their `Archipockets Classics' series is written by Llorenc Bonet, but it is the name of photographer Miquel Tres who is credited first. This is only right when one considers that this book is first and foremost a photographic celebration of some of Schinkel's major architectural works.

Indeed, after a brief introduction, the text comprises a roughly two-hundred-word paragraph for each of the eleven `chapters'. These describe in outline the origins and details of each edifice, for each chapter focuses on one building. Each set of around two-hundred words are translated into four languages: English, German, French, and Italian.

The eleven chapters/buildings are: 1. the Pomona Temple at Potsdam; 2. the Mausoleum for Queen Louise at Schloss Charlottenburg; 3. the Neue Wache on Unter den Linden; 4. the Schauspielhaus on the Gendarmenmarkt; 5. the Schlossbrucke on Unter den Linden; 6. the Altes Museum (one of those few buildings in the world that makes me feel high just looking at it); 7. the Schinkel Pavillon at Schloss Charlottenburg; 8. Glienecke `Castle', near Potsdam; 9. the Charlottenhof (and Roman House) at Potsdam (in the park at Sans Souci); 10. the Cape Arcona Lighthouse on the isle of Rugen; and 11. St Nicholas, Potsdam.

All buildings, apart from the lighthouse, are therefore in or around Berlin. They date from 1800 to 1839. Also they are all either classical or Italianate-classical in design. Examples of Schinkel's gothic work (such as the striking Friedrichswerder church or the National Monument for the Wars of Liberation) are eschewed.

Each structure has devoted to it in this book around five pages of photographs, all in colour. There are some interior shots, but none alas of the Neue Wache, the Altes Museum, or the Schinkel Pavillon. Since 2003, when this book was published, many of the structures have been cleaned and/or restored and are now looking even better.

This book can only offer the briefest of introductions to Schinklel's oeuvre, but as such it may inspire the reader to dig deeper into this brilliant architect and painter's work.
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