The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on Thorvaldsen's Spoken and Written Language

Maria Helleberg’s book Alberto (Copenhagen 2006) was recommended by the Aalborg Libraries, among others, in a review that strongly emphasizes this “up-from-nothing” tale, and so should be read with a large pinch of salt. Here is a short excerpt:
“He does not know the language, he cannot read, he is uncultured, he does not know classical mythology (the background for the figures he sculpts); all the same, Thorvaldsen fashions a fantastic career and fame, sculpting great works, acquiring many customers, and becoming a rich man.
“The book treats both the artist and the man. As a man, Thorvaldsen was haunted by his social inheritance throughout his life. He had basic difficulties in living, experiencing numerous love affairs and fathering two children, but failing to marry or maintain a relationship to a woman.
“He returned to Copenhagen a famous man, but died old and lonely at a theatrical performance in the Royal Theater.”
Such an account is a strongly distorted representation of reality.

Last updated 08.10.2014