1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Munich
MUNICH (Ger. München), a city of Germany, capital of the kingdom of Bavaria, and the third largest town in the German Empire. It is situated on an elevated plain, on the river Isar, 25 m. N. of the foot-hills of the Alps, about midway between Strassburg and Vienna. Owing to its lofty site (1700 ft. above the sea) and the proximity of the Alps, the climate is changeable, and its mean annual temperature, 49° to 50° F., is little higher than that of many places much farther to the north. The annual rainfall is nearly 30 in. Munich lies at the centre of an important network of railways connecting it directly with Strassburg (for Paris), Cologne, Leipzig, Berlin, Rosenheim (for Vienna) and Innsbruck (for Italy via the Brenner pass), which converge in a central station.
Munich is divided into twenty-four municipal districts, nineteen of which, including the old town, lie on the left bank of the Isar, while the suburban districts of Au, Haidhausen, Giesing, Bogenhausen and Ramersdorf are on the opposite bank. The old town, containing many narrow and irregular streets, forms a semicircle with its diameter towards the river, while round its periphery has sprung up the greater part of modern Munich, including the handsome Maximilian and Ludwig districts. The walls with which Munich was formerly surrounded have been pulled down, but some of the gates have been left. The most interesting is the Isartor and the Karlstor, restored in 1835 and adorned with frescoes. The Siegestor (or gate of victory) is a modern imitation of the arch of Constantine at Rome, while the stately Propylaea, built in 1854-1862, is a reproduction of the gates of the Athenian Acropolis.
Munich owes its architectural magnificence largely to Louis I. of Bavaria, who ascended the throne in 1825, and his successors; while its collections of art entitle it to rank with Dresden and Berlin. Most of the modern buildings have been erected after celebrated prototypes of other countries and eras, so that, as has been said by Moriz Carrière, a walk through Munich affords a picture of the architecture and art of two thousand years. In carrying out his plans Louis I. was seconded by the architect Leo von Klenze, while the external decorations of painting and sculpture were mainly designed by Peter von Cornelius, Wilhelm von Kaulbach and Schwanthaler. As opportunity offers, the narrow streets of the older city are converted into broad, straight boulevards, lined with palatial mansions and public buildings. The hygienic improvement effected by these changes, and by a new and excellent water supply, is shown by the mortality averages—40.4 per thousand in 1871-1875, 30.4 per thousand in 1881-1885, and 20.5 per thousand in 1903-1904. The architectural style which has been principally followed in the later public buildings, among them the law courts, finished in 1897, the German bank, St Martin's hospital, as well as in numerous private dwellings, is the Italian and French Rococo, or Renaissance, adapted to the traditions of Munich architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries. A large proportion of the most notable buildings in Munich are in two streets, the Ludwigstrasse and the Maximilianstrasse, the creations of the monarchs whose names they bear. The former, three-quarters of a mile long and 40 yds. wide, chiefly contains buildings in the Renaissance style by Friedrich von Gärtner. The most striking of these are the palaces of Duke Max and of Prince Luitpold; the Odeon, a large building for concerts, adorned with frescoes and marble busts; the war office; the royal library, in the Florentine palatial style; the Ludwigskirche, a successful reproduction of the Italian Romanesque style, built in 1829-1844, and containing a huge fresco of the Last Judgment by Cornelius; the blind asylum; and, lastly, the university. At one end this street is terminated by the Siegestor, while at the other is the Feldherrenhalle (or hall of the marshals), a copy of the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, containing statues of Tilly and Wrede by Schwanthaler. Adjacent is the church of the Theatines, an imposing though somewhat over-ornamented example of the Italian Rococo style; it contains the royal burial vault. In the Maximilianstrasse, which extends from Haidhausen on the right bank of the Isar to the Max-Joseph Platz, King Maximilian II. tried to introduce an entirely novel style of domestic architecture, formed by the combination of older forms. At the east end it is closed by the Maximilianeum, an extensive and imposing edifice, adorned externally with large sculptural groups and internally with huge paintings representing the chief scenes in the history of the world. Descending the street, towards the west are passed in succession the old buildings of the Bavarian national museum, the government buildings in which the Composite style of Maximilian has been most consistently carried out, and the mint. On the north side of the Max-Joseph Platz lies the royal palace, consisting of the Alte Residenz, the Königsbau, and the Festsaalbau. The Alte Residenz dates from 1601 to 1616; its apartments are handsomely fitted up in the Rococo style, and the private chapel and the treasury contain several crowns and many other interesting and valuable objects. The Festsaalbau, erected by Klenze in the Italian Renaissance style, is adorned with mural paintings and sculptures, while the Königsbau, a reduced copy of the Pitti Palace at Florence, contains a series of admirable frescoes from the Niebelungenlied by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Adjoining the palace are two theatres, the Residenz or private theatre, and the handsome Hoftheater, accommodating 2500 spectators. The Allerheiligen-Hofkirche, or court-church, is in the Byzantine style, with a Romanesque façade.
The Ludwigstrasse and the Maximilianstrasse both end at no great distance from the Frauenplatz in the centre of the old town. On this square stands the Frauenkirche, the cathedral church of the archbishop of Munich-Freising, with its lofty cupola capped towers dominating the whole town. It is imposing from its size, and interesting as one of the few examples of indigenous Munich art. On the adjacent Marienplatz are the old town-hall, dating from the 14th century and restored in 1865, and the new town-hall, the latter a magnificent modern Gothic erection, freely embellished with statues, frescoes, and stained-glass windows, and enlarged in 1900-1905. The column in the centre of the square was erected in 1638, to commemorate the defeat of the Protestants near Prague by the Bavarians during the Thirty Years' War.
Among the other churches of Munich the chief place is due to St Boniface's, an admirable copy of an early Christian basilica. It is adorned with a cycle of religious paintings by Heinrich von Hess (1798-1863), and the dome is supported by sixty-four monoliths of grey Tyrolese marble. The parish church of Au, in the Early Gothic style, contains gigantic stained-glass windows and some excellent wood-carving; and the church of St John in Haidhausen is another fine Gothic structure. St Michael's in the Renaissance style, erected for the Jesuits in 1583-1595, contains the monument of Eugène Beauharnais by Thorwaldsen. The façade is divided into storeys, and the general effect is by no means ecclesiastical. St Peter's is interesting as the oldest church in Munich (12th century), though no trace of the original basilica remains. Among newer churches the most noticeable are the Evangelical church of St Luke, a Transitional building, with an imposing dome, finished in 1896, and the Gothic parochial church of the Giesing suburb, with a tower 312 ft. high and rich interior decorations (1866-1884).
The valuable collections of art are enshrined in handsome buildings, mostly in the Maximilian suburb on the north side of the town. The old Pinakothek, erected by Klenze in 1826-1836, and somewhat resembling the Vatican, is embellished externally with frescoes by Cornelius and with statues of twenty-four celebrated painters from sketches by Schwanthaler. It contains a valuable and extensive collection of pictures by the earlier masters, the chief treasures being the early German and Flemish works and the unusually numerous examples of Rubens. It also affords accommodation to more than 300,000 engravings, over 20,000 drawings, and a large collection of vases. Opposite stands the new Pinakothek, built 1846-1853, the frescoes on which, designed by Kaulbach, show the effects of wind and weather. It is devoted to works by painters of the last century, among which Karl Rottmann's Greek landscapes are perhaps the most important. The Glyptothek, a building by Klenze in the Ionic style, and adorned with several groups and single statues, contains a valuable series of sculptures, extending from Assyrian and Egyptian monuments down to works by Thorwaldsen and other modern masters. The celebrated Aeginetan marbles preserved here were found in the island of Aegina in 1811. Opposite the Glyptothek stands the exhibition building, in the Corinthian style, it was finished in 1845, and is used for periodic exhibitions of art. In addition to the museum of plaster casts, the Antiquarium (a collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities under the roof of the new Pinakothek) and the Maillinger collection, connected with the historical museum, Munich also contains several private galleries. Foremost among these stand the Schack Gallery, bequeathed by the founder, Count Adolph von Schack, to the emperor William II. in 1894, rich in works by modern German masters, and the Lotzbeck collection of sculptures and paintings. Other structures and institutions are the new buildings of the art association; the academy of the plastic arts (1874-1885), in the Renaissance style; and the royal arsenal (Zeughaus) with the military museum. The Schwanthaler museum contains models of most of the great sculptor's works.
The immense scientific collection in the Bavarian national museum, illustrative of the march of progress from the Roman period down to the present day, compares in completeness with the similar collections at South Kensington and the Musée de Cluny. The building which now houses this collection was erected in 1894-1900. On the walls is a series of well-executed frescoes of scenes from Bavarian history, occupying a space of 16,000 sq. ft. The ethnographical museum, the cabinet of coins, and the collections of fossils, minerals, and physical and optical instruments, are also worthy of mention. The art union, the oldest and most extensive in Germany, possesses a good collection of modern works. The chief place among the scientific institutions is due to the academy of science, founded in 1759. The royal library contains over 1,300,000 printed volumes and 30,000 manuscripts. The observatory is equipped with instruments by the celebrated Josef Fraunhofer.
At the head of the educational institutions of Munich stands the university, founded at Ingolstadt in 1472, removed to Landshut in 1800, and transferred thence to Munich in 1826. In addition to the four usual faculties there is a fifth—of political economy. In connexion with the university are medical and other schools, a priests' seminary, and a library of 300,000 volumes. The polytechnic institute (Technische Hochschule) in 1899 acquired the privilege of conferring the degree of doctor of technical science. Munich contains several gymnasia or grammar-schools, a military academy, a veterinary college, an agricultural college, a school for architects and builders, and several other technical schools, and a conservatory of music. The general prison in the suburb of Au is considered a model of its kind; and there is also a large military prison. Among other public buildings, the crystal palace (Glas-palast), 765 ft. in length, erected for the great exhibition of 1854, is now used, as occasion requires, for temporary exhibitions. The Wittelsbach palace, built in 1843-1850, in the Early English Pointed style, is one of the residences of the royal family. Among the numerous monuments with which the squares and streets are adorned, the most important are the colossal statue of Maximilian II. in the Maximilianstrasse, the equestrian statues of Louis I. and the elector Maximilian I., the obelisk erected to the 30,000 Bavarians who perished in Napoleon's expedition to Moscow, the Wittelsbach fountain (1895), the monument commemorative of the peace of 1871, and the marble statue of Justus Liebig, the chemist, set up in 1883.
The English garden (Englischer Garten), to the north-east of the town, is 600 acres in extent, and was laid out by Count Rumford in imitation of an English park. On the opposite bank of the Isar, above and below the Maximilianeum, extend the Gasteig promenades, commanding fine views of the town. To the south-west of the town is the Theresienwiese, a large common where the popular festival is celebrated in October. Here is situated the Ruhmeshalle or hall of fame, a Doric colonnade containing busts of eminent Bavarians. In front of it is a colossal bronze statue of Bavaria, 170 ft. high, designed by Schwanthaler. The botanical garden, with its large palm-house, the Hofgarten, surrounded with arcades containing frescoes of Greek landscapes by Rottmann, and the Maximilian park to the east of the Isar, complete the list of public parks.
The population of Munich in 1905 was 538,393. The permanent garrison numbers about 10,000 men. Of the population, 84% are Roman Catholic, 14% Protestants, and 2% Jews.
Munich is the seat of the archbishop of Munich-Freising and of the general Protestant consistory for Bavaria. About twenty newspapers are published here, including the Allgemeine Zeitung. Some of the festivals of the Roman Church are celebrated with considerable pomp; and the people also cling to various national fêtes, such as the Metzgersprung, the Schäfflertanz, and the great October festival.
Munich has long been celebrated for its artistic handicrafts, such as bronze-founding, glass-staining, silversmith's work, and wood-carving, while the astronomical instruments of Fraunhofer and the mathematical instruments of Traugott Lieberecht von Ertel (1778-1858) are also widely known. Lithography, which was invented at Munich at the end of the 18th century, is extensively practised here. The other industrial products include wall-paper, railway plant, machinery, gloves and artificial flowers. The most characteristic industry, however, is brewing. Four important markets are held at Munich annually. The city is served by an extensive electric tramway system.
History.—The Villa Munichen or Forum ad monachos, so called from the monkish owners of the ground on which it lay, was first called into prominence by Duke Henry the Lion, who established a mint here in 1158, and made it the emporium for the salt coming from Hallein and Reichenhall. The Bavarian dukes of the Wittelsbach house occasionally resided at Munich, and in 1255 Duke Louis made it his capital, having previously surrounded it with walls and a moat. The town was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1327, after which the emperor Louis the Bavarian, in recognition of the loyalty of the citizens, rebuilt it very much on the scale it retained down to the beginning of the 19th century. Among the succeeding rulers those who did most for the town in the erection of handsome buildings and the foundation of schools and scientific institutions were Albert V., William V., Maximilian I., Max Joseph and Charles Theodore. In 1632 Munich was occupied by Gustavus Adolphus, and in 1705, and again in 1742, it was in possession of the Austrians. In 1791 the fortifications were razed.
Munich's importance in the history of art is entirely of modern growth, and may be dated from the acquisition of the Aeginetan marbles by Louis I., then crown prince, in 1812. Among the eminent artists of this period whose names are more or less identified with Munich were Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), Joseph Daniel Ohlmüller (1791-1839), Friedrich von Gärtner (1792-1847), and Georg Friedrich Ziebland (1800-1873), the architects; Peter von Cornelius (1783-1867), Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1804-1874), Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872), and Karl Rottmann, the painters; and Ludwig von Schwanthaler, the sculptor. Munich is still the leading school of painting in Germany, but the romanticism of the earlier masters has been abandoned for drawing and colouring of a realistic character. Karl von Piloty (1826-1886) and Wilhelm Diez (1839-1907) long stood at the head of this school.