Karl Schefold  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Karl Schefold (born 26 January 1905, Heilbronn; died 16 April 1999, Basel) was a classical archaeologist based in Basel, Switzerland. Born and educated in Germany, he was forced in 1935 to emigrate to Switzerland, which he adopted as his home country. His speciality was in the religious content of ancient art, which he interpreted from a perspective informed by the scientific tradition and shaped by the poetic tradition of the German classical period and the ideals of the poet Stefan George. His work Forgotten Pompeii, which dealt with Roman murals, especially at Pompeii, had great importance in its time.



After attending high school at the Eberhard-Ludwig-Gymnasium in Stuttgart, he began his study of the ancient world at Tübingen and Heidelberg. He met his future wife, Marianne von den Steinen, there. He went on to study at Jena, and in 1930 completed his doctorate at Marburg under the supervision of Paul Jacobsthal. Later he worked especially at the German Archaeological Institute in Rome and Athens, and participated in excavations at Larisa in Thessaly.

He was married on 5 February 1935 to Marianne von den Steinen, daughter of Karl von den Steinen, a well-known ethnologist. Concerned by developments in Germany, he moved to Basel the same year, and there completed his Habilitation in classical archaeology. At first he specialised in near-eastern and early-Christian archaeology. After the death of Ernst Pfuhl in 1940 he gradually became more and more responsible for all areas of teaching and finally in 1953 the Chair was transferred to him. He declined numerous appointments in other countries; through his research, and the foundation of a museum of antiquities, he developed the field of archaeology at Basel.

Schefold was a member of the German, Austrian, and American archaeological institutes, and of the Bavarian and British Academy of Sciences. He held an honorary doctorate at the University of Thessaloniki. With Herbert A. Cahn he founded the Antikenmuseum Basel, the first museum for ancient art in Switzerland.


Schefold was known for his work on late-classical Attic vases, on the art of the Scythians in southern Russia, and his excavations at Larisa and Eretria. During his time in Basel he worked to maintain connections between America and Europe in difficult times.

After finishing the five-volume Griechische Sagenbilder ("Greek myth in art", 1964-1993) he focused in his last years on revising and expanding the book Die Bildnisse der antiken Dichter, Redner und Denker ("Depictions of ancient poets, orators, and thinkers", 1943, revised edition 1997); a summary and revision of his earlier work, Der religiöse Gehalt der antiken Kunst und die Offenbarung ("The religious content of ancient art and the Revelation", 1998), and Hugo von Hoffmansthals Bild von Stefan George ("Hugo von Hoffmansthal's depiction of Stefan George", 1998).

His work on Roman murals, especially at Pompeii, had great importance in its time but is now considered obsolete.




  • (1990) Karl Schefold. Bibliographie 1930-1990. Karl Schefold zum 85. Geburtstag am 26. Januar 1990, mit zusammenfassenden Kommentaren des Autors. Von seinen Kollegen und Freunden. Basel. ISBN 3-905057-06-9.
  • (1995) "Bibliographie Karl Schefold, 1990–1995", Antike Kunst 38: 65.


  • Karl Schefold (2003), Die Dichtung als Führerin zur Klassischen Kunst. Erinnerungen eines Archäologen (Lebenserinnerungen Band 58), edd. M. Rohde-Liegle et al., Hamburg. ISBN 3-8300-1017-6.


  • Karl Schefold-von den Steinen, Dr.phil., Dr.phil.h.c., em. o. Professor für klassische Archäologie an der Universität Basel, 26. Januar 1905–16. April 1999. Basel 1999.
  • Henri Metzger, J.M. Moret (1999), "Karl Schefold, 26 janvier 1905–16 avril 1999", Revue Archéologique (1999): 387–90.
  • Umberto Pappalardo (2001), "Ricordo di Karl Schefold", Atene e Roma 46: 80–6.
  • Umberto Pappalardo (2000), "Karl Schefold in memoriam", Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 11: 7–9.
  • Margot Schmidt (2000), "Karl Schefold", Gnomon 72: 571–5.
  • Rolf A. Stucky (1999), "Antike Kunst und Vereinigung der Freunde Antiker Kunst verlieren einen ihrer Gründerväter. Zum Tod von Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Karl Schefold", Antike Kunst 42: 71–2.
  • Rolf A. Stucky (1999), "Wissenschaft als Botschaft. Zum Tod von Karl Schefold", Antike Welt 30: 417.
  • Paul Zanker (1999), "Karl Schefold, 26.1.1905–16.4.1999", Jahrbuch der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1999): 276–282.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Karl Schefold" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools