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Arens, Johann Augustlocked

(b Hamburg, Oct 2, 1757; d Pisa, Aug 18, 1806).
  • Andreas Kreul

German architect, draughtsman, landscape designer and painter. He studied from 1778 to 1783 at the University of Göttingen and the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, where he was awarded four prizes. His early designs included drawings for the hothouse of the botanic gardens in Copenhagen and a lecture room at Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin. While visiting Paris in 1784–5 he devoted himself to the study of Revolutionary architecture, and in England and Italy (1786) he studied landscape design and ancient sites. In Rome in 1787 he met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who later summoned him to Weimar to rebuild the prince’s Schloss. In addition to a number of designs for the palace at Weimar he produced drawings for various summer-houses. In 1790 he moved to Hamburg, his plans for the Schloss at Weimar still largely unexecuted. By the end of his life he had designed numerous public buildings and private houses in Hamburg, including the house for Bürgermeister Bartel, the church in Wandsbek (1795–1800; destr. 1898), the school and workhouse (1795–1800) of the Institute for the Poor, and chapels for the churches of St Nikolai, St Katharinen and St Petri. Between these works he made repeated journeys to Italy. Arens was the major exponent of Neo-classicism in Hamburg and his buildings were quite distinct from the traditional houses of the city.


  • E. Rump: Lexikon der bildenden Künstler Hamburgs, Altonas und der näheren Umgebung (Hamburg, 1912)
  • W. Scheidig: Das Schloss in Weimar (Erfurt, 1951)
  • G. Wietek: Untersuchungen über Goethes Verhältnis zur Architektur (diss., U. Kiel, 1951)
  • G. Wietek: ‘Der Hamburger Architekt Johann August Arens als Baumeister Goethes’, Die Bau- und Künstlerdenkmale der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, ed. G. Grundmann (Hamburg, 1953)
  • J. Gerhardt and W. Gramberg, eds: Bewahren und Gestalten: Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag von Günter Grundmann (Hamburg, 1962), p. 165–76
  • Architekt Johann August Arens, 1757–1806 (exh. cat., ed. C. Knupp; Altonaer Mus., 1972)
  • A. Jericke and D. Dolgner: Der Klassizismus im Baugeschehen Weimars (Weimar, 1975)
  • D. Dolgner: Weimar: Schloss (Leipzig, 1983)

See also