Bertel Thorvaldsen

(redirected from Bertel Thorwaldsen)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Here Bertel Thorwaldsen exchanges portraits with Horace Vernet.
Kasson includes American sculptors of the neo-classical school influenced by Bertel Thorwaldsen and Antonio Canova.
The grandfather, Jacob Christian Jacobsen (1811-1887), amassed sculptures by his contemporary and compatriot Bertel Thorwaldsen, a Neo-Classicist akin to John Flaxman in Attic dexterity, but lacking Flaxman's sharpness and tightness of design.