Stirling's Muses Part I
To ultimately resolve the issue of the Neue Staatsgalerie's "facelessness," it is necessary to examine one final connection between Stirling's and Schinkel's museums, which relates to the porch wall behind the colonnade of the Altes Museum that originally held two long murals depicting the narrative history of culture. The murals, destroyed at the end of World War II, no longer exist, yet Vidler refers to this wall as "the true face of Schinkel's building13." Moreover, it is a "true face" behind a "screen." The row of trees in front of Stirling's museum also creates a screen that veils its true face, and, like the porch wall in Berlin, the Stuttgart "wall" also displays a narrative history, though not of culture, but of architecture. The historical "quotations and allusions14" of the Staatsgalerie's front are plentiful: Egyptian cornice, Romanesque window, Constructivist canopy, proto-Deconstructionist window, Roman rotunda, Corbusian ramps, High-tech guardrails, Loosian facade, traditional masonry throughout, and, with the eventual overgrowth of vegetation, Piranesian ruin. As a whole, the composite references, similar in scope to those that Stirling himself recognized in Hawkmoor's Church at Spitalfields, deliver a real and 3-dimensional panorama of architectural history, and it is perhaps this shared notion of historical narrative that, above all else, patently locks the connection between Stirling's Staatsgalerie and Schinkel's Altes Museum.
Although the evidence strongly suggests an intentional patrimony on Stirling's part between Schinkel's Altes Museum and his own museum design in Stuttgart, some may still doubt whether Stirling's intentions were the same as those outlined above. Further proof of Stirling's deliberate reenactment of Schinkel's design, however, comes with looking at Stirling's first museum design for a German city, the Museum for Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf.
13The true face of Schinkel's building, indeed, is set behind the colonnade, a wall paneled to receive a narrative history of culture, pierced in the center to provide access to the museum and the stair to the second floor. A facade hidden, then, behind a screen; the "face," however veiled . . .
14The following quotations all describe Stirling's use of historical reference, particularly with regard to the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart:
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