Homecoming Hero: Exploring Beethoven’s Birthplace in Bonn


Beethoven’s birthplace, at Bonn, is in the
road ‘Bonngasse’. A plaque tells us that “In
this house Ludwig van Beethoven was born, December
17th 1770″.

Nicely kept and restored, the house has been
turned into a museum.

The house is L-shaped and has three floors.
It is now consecrated entirely to Beethoven.
The museum holds letters, autographed scores,
paintings and sculptures, musical instruments
(pianos, string quartet instruments, organ…)
and lots of information on Beethoven and those
close to him.

It’s useful to be able to understand German,
because nothing is translated in the museum.

Not far from there are the Beethoven archives,
which is the world’s largest collection of documents
on the composer…

The little garden holds three statues of the

Left: a statue by Niaoum Aronson – 1905.

Right: a bust by Cantemir Riscutia.

In a small cabin shelter is the plastic model
of an astonishing statue by Max Klinger, made
in polychrome in 1886 (held at Leipzig).

Franz Klein (1779-1837),
made this bust of Beethoven in 1812. The composer
was 42 years old at the time.

In order to model this work, Klein began by
creating a mask of Beethoven’s face. This is,
therefore, probably the closest we will get
to a true image of Beethoven.

Klein’s mask has been used for other statues,
notably for that of Kaspar von Zumbush, at Vienna.

Several copies of the bust exist: the one at
Bonn, another at Vienna and probably others