Comment on 24.10.1800
In his letter of 21.7.1800, Abildgaard mentions an album, in which Thorvaldsen was said to have made a drawing, but Abildgaard does not say whose album it was.
It has not been possible to identify this album, but in his biography of the sculptor, the historian H.F.J. Estrup records a story which has a certain bearing on the rumour about Thorvaldsen’s lack of diligence: “A foreign visitor, who he [Thorvaldsen] thinks is the Swede Åckerbladt told Abildgaard that Thorvaldsen did nothing in Rome and thus caused him a reprimand.”
Åckerbladt is identical with the Swedish diplomat and orientalist Johan David Åkerblad. He was in Rome in 1798-99. Among his papers in the Royal Library in Stockholm there is no album, as mentioned in the letter, but there is a list of artists in Rome with the following words about Thorvaldsen: “Thorwaldsen Danese fa niente”.
So, the album mentioned is not known, but Åkerblad might have seen an album with a Thorvaldsen drawing so uninspired that it resulted in criticism of Thorvaldsen’s work.
Last updated 28.06.2015