Inventory of the painting collection of the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel

August the Younger in his study room (1579–1666), 1659
Oil on Wood, 49,5 x 38,5 cm
Inv.-Nr. B 10

The 160 paintings in the holdings of the Herzog August Library constitute one of the important picture collections of the former state of Braunschweig. The paintings are distributed throughout the buildings of the library, where they are mostly not accessible to the public, and they have yet to be published.

Running over a period of two years (2009-2010) the project will be conducted in co-operation with the Braunschweig University of Applied Art. Its main objectives are the cataloguing and digitalization of the collection. To make the paintings accessible to a broader public both a printed catalogue and an online-presentation are planned.

The bulk of the subjects are closely linked to the history of the duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and of the Herzog August Library itself. Predominant parts of the collection consist of oil paintings of the 16th to 18th centuries, primarily portraits of academics, reformers and members of the House of Welf. In addition to this, there are a smaller number of paintings dealing with local and historical subjects.

Most paintings are unsigned and of unknown provenance. The aim of the current project is to gain new insights into art historical data concerning the paintings' origins. In particular, the portraits of academics may well have formed part of the original library's décor, possibly part of an iconographical programme developed for the interior of the former library rotunda. In this context the paintings are of particular interest for the general history of the Herzog August Library.



Michael Wenzel: Die Gemälde der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. Bestandskatalog. Wolfenbütteler Forschungen 133 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2012).
Catalogue HAB Publications


Funding: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur