Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm and Wilhelm Carl Grimm were born in 1785 and 1786 in Hanau, Germany to Philipp Wilhelm and Dorothea Grimm. Just like their father, who was a layer and court official, the brothers studied law. Later on in life ”they were influenced by the folk poetry collection of Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and began to collect folk tales” (Ashliman, D. L, 2010). Jacob and Wilhelm took on positions at the University of Kassel as librarians to support their family. Later on both resigned their positions to pursue their own interests and research. The brothers are considered to be pioneers as folklorists, linguists, and medievalists. They are credited with publishing numerous collections of folk
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Wilhelm Grimm is shown seated and Jacob Grimm standing. It is a sculpture in the round but also an installation piece, as the final piece consists of the bronze statues, a granite base, and a metal gate which surrounds the piece. The double statues measure about 6 meters in height and are placed on the market place, in front of the city hall in Hanau, Germany. It is the central part of the city and a focal point for citizens and tourists. Since the piece is situated in an open space, it is well-lit from all directions and easily accessible for everybody who wants to take a close look. It depicts both brothers in a real life situation, reading and studying folk stories. The granite base and decorative metal gate were created by Friedrich von Thiersch. The base includes a bronze relief sculpture piece of a man reading the collections of the Brothers Grimm to children as well as an inscription to the German people. Legend has it that the brothers switch places when the clock on city hall turns to midnight.
Most of the plaster cast was destroyed during the bombing in World War II. Only the plaster heads survived. As if by miracle, the bronze statues survived the bombing of the city. The art piece does not just commemorate the achievements of the Brothers Grimm, but it is also considered the sign of a new beginning after World War II. The piece is a national monument and also signifies the beginning of the “Maerchenstrasse” (folk story street),