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  Bertel Thorvaldsen  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Bertel Thorvaldsen
 
 

Bertel Thorvaldsen, Portrait by Carl Joseph Begas, ca. 1820.
 
 
Bertel Thorvaldsen, Thorvaldsen also spelled Thorwaldsen (born Nov. 19, 1770, or Nov. 13, 1768, Copenhagen, Den.—died March 24, 1844, Copenhagen), sculptor, prominent in the Neoclassical period, who was the first internationally acclaimed Danish artist. Prominent in Roman intellectual and artistic circles, he influenced many emerging artists from Europe and the United States.

Thorvaldsen was the son of an Icelandic wood-carver who had settled in Denmark. He studied at the Copenhagen Academy and won a traveling scholarship to Rome, where he was to live most of his life. In Italy the prevailing enthusiasm for classical sculpture fired his imagination so much that he later celebrated the date of his arrival in 1797 as his “Roman birthday.” The success of Thorvaldsen’s model for a statue of Jason (1803) attracted the attention of the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova and launched Thorvaldsen on one of the most successful careers of the 19th century. When he returned to visit Copenhagen in 1819, his progress through Europe, in Berlin, Warsaw, and Vienna, was like a triumphal procession. His return from Rome in 1838, when he eventually decided to settle in Copenhagen, was regarded as a national event in Danish history. A large portion of his fortune went to the endowment of a Neoclassical museum in Copenhagen (begun in 1839), designed to house his collection of works of art, the models for all his sculptures; by his own wish, Thorvaldsen was to be buried there.

Most of Thorvaldsen’s most characteristic sculptures are reinterpretations of the figures or themes of classical antiquity. The Alexander frieze of 1812 in the Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome, modeled in only three months in anticipation of a visit by Napoleon, is an example of the feverish energy with which he could at times work. Religious sculptures include the colossal series of statues of Christ and the Twelve Apostles (1821–27) in the Vor Frue Kirke in Copenhagen. He also made numerous portrait busts of distinguished contemporaries.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
 


Adonis
1808-32
Marble, height 182 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich






Allegory of the Night
1815
Marble
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples






Bust of Lord Byron
1821
Marble, height 45 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston






Statue of Byron
1831
Marble
Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge






Christ
1821
Marble
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen






Ganymede Waters Zeus as an Eagle
1817
Marble, height 94 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen









Ganymede Waters Zeus as an Eagle
1817
Marble
Museum der Bildenden Kьnste, Leipzig





Hebe
1806
Marble, height 156 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen






Hebe
1806
Marble, height 156 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen






Jason with the Golden Fleece
1803-28
Marble, height 242 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

 




Mercury Preparing to Kill Argus
1818
Marble, height 174 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen






Shepherd Boy
1800s
Marble
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen





Shepherd
1817-26
Marble, height 149 cm
City Art Gallery, Manchester






The Three Graces with Cupid
1817-18
Marble, height 172 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

 
 
 
 


Venus with Apple
 
 
 
 


Venus with Apple
 
 
 
 


Venus
 
 
 
 


Hylas Abducted by the Nymphs
1831
Marble, 41 x 76 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen
 
 
 
 


Apollo and the Muses
 
 
 
 


Procession of Alexander the Great
 
 
 
 


Childhood and Spring
 
 
 
 

The Lion of Lucerne
1819-21
Stone
Lucerne

 
 
 
 

Tomb of Pius VII
1823-31
Marble
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

 
 
 
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