Beethoven for kids

The exhibition

Violin

Violin

The violin was a gift to Beethoven along with three other string instruments. He proudly carved his initials into it. His seal can be seen on the neck and he scratched a large letter ‘B’ on the bottom of the violin so that everyone would know it was his.

Bust

Bust

Why does Beethoven look so grim and bad-tempered? When the plaster cast was being made, he had to sit still for quite a long time and purse his lips tightly together so that liquid plaster would not get in his mouth – he was afraid of suffocating. But this is why many people today think that Beethoven must have been rather grim or bad-tempered.

Ear trumpet

Ear trumpet

Beethoven was hard of hearing in his mid-20s and was completely deaf by the age of 45 or so. He wrote in notebooks in order to communicate with others. An inventor made a hearing aid for him, an ear trumpet, so that he could hear better, but in point of fact, Beethoven didn’t like these devices and hardly ever used them.

Painting

Painting

The famous artist, Andy Warhol, has sketched many artists. Beethoven had been dead for a long time, but nevertheless, Warhol thought him so important that he created this work of art. He portrayed him as a rock star, using many variations in color.

Composition

Composition

Beethoven used to work on his compositions for an extremely long time. He would make notes, add to his notes, make corrections and even scratch out odd bits with a knife until he was satisfied. He missed so many deadlines for submitting work, including the Diabelli variations shown here.

Virtual exhibition

Enter the world of Beethoven

Interesting facts about Beethoven

  • Ludwig went to school for only four years. Higher education was unaffordable for a family like the Beethovens, and it was normal for children to earn money to help feed the family from the age of twelve or so.
  • Beethoven would often dine out for lunch, sit in a coffee house during the afternoon and in the evenings, go to the pub that you can still find today in Bonn’s market place. He would meet friends there, read the newspaper or work.
  • Beethoven worked mostly at home, either using the piano (it’s been said that he even knocked his inkwell over onto the keys a couple of times) or he would compose at his desk, because he could hear the notes in his head even without a piano.
  • Ludwig learned to play the piano and violin as a child, and his enormous talent soon became apparent. He gave his first piano concerto at the age of seven and stood in for the court organist in Bonn aged just twelve.
  • Beethoven loved nature and would walk through the meadows and forests for hours. He used to spend several months in the country every summer. He felt untroubled and free in the great outdoors. He was able to regain his strength and energy while walking and had many musical ideas.
  • Ludwig’s handwriting was difficult to read and he made many spelling mistakes. His notes too were difficult to decipher and his music was very complicated. He would always ask to see proof copies beforehand to ensure that there would be no errors in the final print run.

And did you know that...

  • ...Beethoven is very popular in Asia and well-known wherever you go. In Japan, for example, his famous 9th Symphony is played every year in New Year’s Day concerts up and down the land.
  • ...Ludwig had six brothers and sisters but four of them died as babies, leaving Kaspar Karl and Nikolaus Johann. Later on in life, they both moved to Vienna where Ludwig lived from 1792 onwards.
  • ...Beethoven was not really bothered about his appearance. He often wore old clothes, so worn that he was sometimes mistaken for a tramp.
  • ...we don’t know Beethoven’s exact date of birth, since such records were not kept back then. He was baptized 17th December 1770, so we assume he was born on the 16th.
  • ...Beethoven always dreamed of having a wife and family but never married or had children. While living in Vienna, he became the guardian of his nephew Karl for a while following his brother’s death.
  • ...Beethoven is often thought of as being rather bad-tempered and that’s how he looks in the bust in the exhibition. However, according to many people, Beethoven loved to laugh and enjoyed life.

The big Beethoven quiz

What do you know about Ludwig van Beethoven? Test your knowledge!

We have 6 questions waiting for you to answer. Ready?

Start the quiz

Question 1

When was Ludwig born?

Question 2

Where was Ludwig van Beethoven born?

Question 3

Which letter/s did Beethoven carve in the bottom of his violin?

Question 4

For how long did Ludwig go to school?

Question 5

What did Beethoven have in his nostrils when the bust was cast?

Question 6

Beethoven wrote his masterpieces despite being…

Your result

Correct answers: from 6

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Beethoven to color in

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