A critical edition with commentary of the correspondence of Aloys Hirt


Aloys Hirt (1759–1837) was for more than 40 years highly regarded by his contemporaries as a connoisseur and adviser on art. The specialist knowledge he acquired in Rome was used not only by the Prussian kings, but also by artists, archaeologists and historians such as Karl August Böttiger, Johann Gottfried Schadow, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Goethe.


The goal of this project is to bring to light the full significance of this key figure in the discourses of scholarship, cultural history and art history. This, the first-ever study of the whole correspondence of this art historian, archaeologist, academy member and major player in Prussian cultural politics, offers material on the organisation and politics of scholarship, permits detailed insights into the practices of academic administration, reflects upon the scholarly and artistic exchanges between Rome and Berlin and is at the same time a mirror of urban life in the metropolis Berlin in the period of change around 1800. Hirt had a decisive influence on Prussian cultural politics over a long period and held a central position within a network of European scholars of art and archaeology.


The edition project includes the transcription of and commentary upon all surviving letters by and to Aloys Hirt, as well as a large number of so-called ‘inferred letters’, which are known to have existed but have not been preserved. An appendix will present reports and memoranda by Hirt. An electronic publication will be followed by a print edition.


The project is funded by the DFG.




Dr. Uta Motschmann
Briefwechsel Aloys Hirt
Tel.: +49 (0)30 20370 455
Jägerstraße 22/23
10117 Berlin
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