Comment on 29.12.1804
The little sketch in the letter shows that Abildgaard wants a bust of Baden in Hermaean form (“like a Herma”) like the busts of Tyge Rothe, A225, A.P. Bernstorff, A207 and Raphael, A752, which Thorvaldsen had sent to Copenhagen, see Transportation of Thorvaldsen’s Artworks to Copenhagen 1798 and 1802.
Based on the above-mentioned death mask and painting, Thorvaldsen executed the portrait of Jacob Baden, A863 c. 1806. The plaster original has disappeared, but a plaster bust of a smaller size, A802, which is thought to represent Jacob Baden, may have been a model for the larger marble Herma.
Abildgaard originally commissioned the bust on behalf of Baden’s widow, Sophie Louise Charlotte, née Klenow (1740-1824). However, she died before the bust reached Copenhagen in 1825, after which it passed to the Baden family, cf. no. 49 on the list dated 2.7.1825 of works sent from Leghorn to Copenhagen. Thorvaldsens Museum acquired the portrait in 1924 from the Baden family.
See Else Kai Sass: Thorvaldsens Portrætbuster, Copenhagen 1963-65, vol. I, p. 141-146.
Last updated 22.01.2018