Bertel Thorvaldsen

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Thorvaldsen, Bertel


(also B. Thorwaldsen). Born Nov. 13 (or 19), 1768 (or 1770), in Copenhagen; died there Mar. 24, 1844. Danish sculptor.

Thorvaldsen, one of the greatest representatives of late classicism, studied at the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen from 1781 to 1793. From 1797 to 1838 he lived in Naples and Rome, where he studied classical sculpture and the works of Raphael. Thorvaldsen became president of the Academy of Saint Luke in Rome in 1825 and of the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen in 1833. He worked predominantly in marble.

Like the sculptures of A. Canova, Thorvaldsen’s works tend toward the idealization and cool detachment characteristic of academic European art of the 19th century. They are distinguished for their masterful use of marble, strict compositional harmony, and static, restrained serenity. Notable examples are the statues Jason (1802–3; Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen) and MercuryWith a Flute (1818) and the monumental frieze The Campaign of Alexander the Great (1818; the Villa Carlotta, on Lake Como).

Thorvaldsen also executed a number of portrait statues, including E. A. Osterman-Tolstaia (c. 1815–19; the Hermitage, Leningrad). His main works are housed in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.


Lunacharskii, A. V. “Torval’dsen.” In his Stat’i ob iskusstve. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Meddelelser fra Thorwaldsens Museum. Copenhagen, 1929. (Publication in progress.)
References in periodicals archive ?
As two of the most famous sculptors of the 19th century, Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen would have been subject to plenty of comparative critique in their own time.
The most famous Danish sculptural artist of all time, Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) was also the first person in his country to sit for a daguerreotype portrait.
It represents a high point of Danish engagement with the international artistic and intellectual community, with the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, writer Hans Christian Andersen and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard widely admired.
The marble was shipped directly to San Simeon in September 1930 and placed prominently in the northeast corner of the Assembly Room of La Casa Grande, opposite a Venus by the Danish neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Facing them, a marmoreal phalanx of busts of members of the Hope family, produced in Rome by their protege, the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, are starkly lit against black walls.