Denkmal König Friedrich II. von Preußen (King Friedrich II of Prussia Monument), Unter der Linden, Mitte;
1851 by Christian Daniel Rauch
The monumental equestrian statue of King Friedrich II of Prussia (1712-86) marks the end of the "Forum Fridericianum" and constitutes the start of the linden boulevard. Several generations of artists since the end of the eighteenth century were commissioned to create the culmination of the "via Triumphalis", beginning with the "Victory Arch" of the Brandenburg Gate and ending at the city castle. The monument is not only one of the most important and best known works by Christian Daniel Rauch: it also occupies a central position in the monumental sculpture of the nineteenth century and was the model for numerous royal monuments around the turn of the century.
The statue on the multi-stage granite base and pedestal depicts Friedrich II sitting on his trotting horse in historical uniform with an ermine-lined coat across his shoulders. He wears the characteristic three-cornered hat, his head slightly bowed to the left. His left hand grips the reins; the right hand on his hip holds a crutch as a reference to the aging king. The three sections of the pedestal are also elaborately fashioned and of high artistic quality. Above the inscription section is an area dedicated to Friedrich's contemporaries: life-size, fully sculpted equestrian statues and figures fading into a flat relief in the background, representing generals, state officials, artists and scholars. The uppermost section of the pedestal is reserved exclusively for the king: four seated figures at the corners allude to the cardinal virtues, while the reliefs portray scenes from Friedrich's life -- closely combing reality and myth.