The Liebieghaus is home to a choice collection of modern-era sculptures dating from the early Renaissance to Neoclassicism. The bronze statuette of the Apollo Belvedere by the sculptor Antico prominently exemplifies the Renaissance striving, inspired by antiquity, to reproduce nature realistically. The Mannerist works, for their part, are distinguished by tension-charged compositions. Whereas Matthias Steinl’s Immaculata and Andrea Brustolon’s Jacob’s Struggle with the Angel provide a vivid impression of Baroque art, works by the sculptors Ignaz Günther and Paul Egell represent the Rococo, the art of the Enlightenment. The Liebieghaus’s most famous sculpture, however, is Johann Heinrich von Dannecker’s Ariadne on the Panther, a work already celebrated before its completion.
Over the course of decades, the collector and patron Reiner Winkler (1925–2020) compiled a private collection of ivory sculptures with a focus on Baroque objects. Winkler built up his collection continuously from 1962 onwards. After a few years of collecting sculptures in various materials and from different periods, he soon concentrated entirely on ivory sculptures of the 17th and 18th centuries, and to a very small extent of the early 19th century.
Winkler was closely associated with the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung and provided the museum with loans for exhibitions on several occasions. At the Liebieghaus, his collection has found “its new and permanent home” and will thus be preserved “as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’”, as Reiner Winkler wished and expressed himself on the occasion of the acquisition in 2019. The unique collection expanded the Liebieghaus’ own internationally important holdings at the highest level. The acquisition also established European ivory art as the central focus of the Liebieghaus’ Baroque and Rococo department – a focus that has since been intensively researched and didactically communicated.
Since 2019, masterpieces by world-famous sculptors have been on display at the Liebieghaus in the exhibition “White Wedding”. The follow-up exhibition “Splendid White” completed the Reiner Winkler Ivory Collection at the Liebieghaus in 2022 and can now be seen as a permanent collection presentation.