August Kiss

Image: (Wikimedia Commons) “St George Vanquishing the Dragon. This statue by Kiss is located right by the Spree River and faces the oldest church in Berlin – St. Nicholas Church. Saint George, who according to legend kills the dragon on horseback, not only frees the princess from the monster, but an entire city. The 6m high statue group is dated 1855.”


“Professor August Karl Eduard Kiss

Born 11 October 1802
Died 24 March 1865

Active: 1851 – 1854

Country of birth and death: Germany


He served an apprenticeship in the Paprotzan ironworks, after which he went to the Royal Smelting Works in Gleiwitz, where he learnt how to sculpt and engrave plaques and statuettes by means of iron-casting. After further training in the Brieg-Liegnitz iron foundry, he went to Berlin in 1822, studying at the Akademie der Künste and working at the Royal Iron Foundry under Leonhard Posch. From 1825 to 1840 Kiss worked with the sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch; his first undertaking in Rauch’s studio was to produce iron casts of scaled-down, mass-produced replicas after Rauch’s famous statues of generals. Kiss also assisted Friedrich Tieck with the work for his monumental Horse Tamers for the roof of Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Altes Museum in Berlin. On commission from Schinkel, Kiss completed a series of sculptural works, including the zinc figures for the Neue Wache on Unter den Linden (1842-46; in situ).

In 1830 Kiss became tutor in the bronze workshop of the Gewerbeinstitut. In 1837 he was made a member of the Berlin Akademie; and in 1841 he became a professor there. The first major work to make Kiss famous outside his own country was the Mounted Amazon Fighting a Panther for the entrance staircase of the Altes Museum (1837-41; erected 1842). Kiss was regarded as the best horse sculptor in Berlin. He worked almost exclusively in iron and bronze.”

From: Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985):

“There is an order and a balance to be found in stories.

History is St George.

And when I look at a history book and think of the imaginative effort it has taken to squeeze this oozing world between two boards and typeset, I am astonished. Perhaps the event has an unassailable truth. God saw it. God knows. But I am not God. And so when someone tells me what they heard or saw, I believe them, and I believe their friend who also saw, but not in the same way, and I can put these accounts together and I will not have a seamless wonder but a sandwich laced with mustard of my own.

The salt beef of civilisation rumbling round in the gut. Constipation was a great problem after the Second World War. Not enough roughage in the diet, too much refined food. If you always eat out you can never be sure what’s going in, and received information is nobody’s exercise.

Rotten and rotting.

Here is some advice. If you want to keep your own teeth, make your own sandwiches…”

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