The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on Jason and the Hope Commission

On March 19, 1803, Brun wrote in her diary: Jason-Fest – Ida Grazie! Der gute Prinz! Reine u[nd] Fröliche Seelen! Thorwaldsens bange Freüde – der Lorbeerkranz: “den Tÿnger paa min Isse!” [Danish: “It weighs on my brow!”] Er hat nie Tasso gelesen. Cited in Walser-Wilhelm and Heinz Graber, op. cit., vol. IX/I, p. 463. Tasso, which Brun here claims Thorvaldsen had never read, is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play Torquato Tasso: Ein Schauspiel, most likely its third act in particular, where the princess crowns Tasso with a laurel wreath, and Tasso declares: Die Schöne Last aus deinen teuren Händen / Empfang ich knieend auf mein schwaches Haupt. (The entire play is available in digitized form here.) Brun thus represents Thorvaldsen as the commoner boy who intuitively understood, and was fully equal to, the highest degree of sophistication in the world of art. Nor was she alone in cultivating this myth. For more on this, see the Related Article on Thorvaldsen’s Education.
For more on Brun’s festive gathering, see also Walser-Wilhelm og Heinz Graber, op. cit., vol. IX/I, pp. 501-504, in which Brun’s poem Thorwaldsons Jason and song Jasons wundervolle Abentheüer: ein Bänkelsänger Ballade are reproduced and presented as having been performed at the celebration.

Last updated 21.12.2014