The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

 
No. 484 of 10185
Sender Date Recipient
Bertel Thorvaldsen [+]

Sender’s Location

Rom

Efter 21.9.1805 [+]

Dating based on

Udkastet er udateret, men det må stamme fra september 1805, da udkastet er et svar på Schubarts brev af 16.9.1805 desuden omtales Christian Stub, der forlod Italien i 1805 og døde i Lissabon året efter; og ydermere omtaler Thorvaldsen sin rejse fra Firenze til Rom, som fandt sted fra medio september 1805 til lørdag den 21.9.1805, som han nævner her.
Udkastet må altså være skrevet efter hjemkomsten 21.9.1805, og da det sandsynligvis er skrevet samtidig med et andet udkast til samme brev, som helt sikkert er skrevet før 28.9.1805, må denne terminus ante quem også gælde for dette udkast, jf. dateringsbegrundelsen for det andet udkast.

Herman Schubart [+]

Recipient’s Location

Montenero

Abstract

Fragment of a draft letter: Thorvaldsen informs Schubart that he is coming to Rome after two days in Florence, where he left Christian Stub.

See Original [Translation]

Efter to Dages ophold i Florens efterlod vi vor gode Stub som ikke vaavede at gaae lenger med os, dels for sin Sundhed, de[l]s for det Skib som gaaer til Lisabon skulde gaae fra ham[.] jeg har giordt en behagelig Reise med vor Reeberg[?] og en svensk Capelmester som jeg har kendt før i Rom og som sang saa diælig for os og en gammel Skomager fra Mejland[.] vi var saa lykkelig at treffe en god veturrin med en beqvem Vong saa vi har giord denne Reyse saa magelig som mulig og ankom hertil[?] i løverdags eftermidag

General Comment

This draft describes the journey from Florence in the middle of September 1805 until the arrival in Rome 21.9.1805, see also Thorvaldsen’s passport of 11.9.1805, which was used during the journey. Even in Thorvaldsen’s lapidary description, the journey acquires an almost filmic character: On the road between Florence and Rome, four men are sitting in a stagecoach – a Danish sculptor, a German painter, a singing Swedish conductor, and an old Milanese shoemaker.
 
The draft is written on a sheet, C15r, which Thorvaldsen also used four years later for two other drafts of 4.2.1809. Besides, the sheet was also used to sketch different subjects: Achilles and Penthesilea, Apollo Draws the Veil from the Ephesian Diana, C15v, and sketches of a couple (Hercules and Hebe? Cupid and Psyche?).
 
The sheet, then, is a good example of the way Thorvaldsen worked: The papers in his workroom seem to have been lying in piles on his table for a long time. And when he wanted to sketch a new idea for a sculpture or write a draft of a letter, he reached for the nearest sheet.
 
Also on this point the draft has a filmic effect – it conjures up a picture that matches the description which Hans Hansen gave of Thorvaldsen’s home 23.2.1795:

His place looks very much like that of a genius, for tobacco, paints, paper, teacups, books, modeling tools, powder and tallow, miniature portraits and hundreds of other things together with a good deal of pure dirt live happily together on a small table and are so well mixed that the best of chemists would find it difficult to separate them from each other.

The draft is reproduced in Thiele, op. cit., who calls it a diary entry, but this is wrong because the draft is clearly an answer to the questions that Schubart poses in his letter of 16.9.1805, where, among other things, he worries whether Thorvaldsen has reached Rome.

There is another fragment which must be a draft of the same letter. The finished letter is not known, but it was sent off because such a letter is mentioned by Schubart in his letter of 11.10.1805 to C.F.F. Stanley.

Archival Reference
C15r
Document Type
Draft, autograph
Thiele
Gengivet hos Thiele II, p. 37.
Subjects
Accounts of Journeys · Thorvaldsen's Italian Journeys
Persons
Friedrich Rehberg · Christian Stub
Works
Last updated 28.07.2016 Print