The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

 
No. 114 of 9564
Sender Date Recipient
Bertel Thorvaldsen [+]

Sender’s Location

Rom

5.1.1798 [+]

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.

Kunstakademiet, København [+]

Recipient’s Location

København

Information on recipient

Udskrift: À L’Accademie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture & Architecture à Copenhague
Tilskrift: Til det Kongelege Maler Belledhugger og Bygnings Academie

Abstract

Thorvaldsen reports to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts that he has studied Rome and its surroundings. He has copied classical works and finished one marble bust and begun carving another. He intends to model a group of Bacchus and Ariadne, A1. He tells the Academy where his lodgings and his workshop are located.

[Translation]

Underdanigst Pro Memoria

Efter min Instruxes Bydende hver siette Maaned at melde det Kongelige Academie met Opholdsted m:m: er det ieg herved ærbødigst giver mig den Frihed at endberette at ieg lever vel og Arbeyder med al muelig Flid. De mange Merkverdigheder som her er har giort at ieg ikke strax kunde ligke haand paa Arbeydet, førrend ieg havde giort mig bekint med de vegtigste Ting i Rom og de omliggende Byer. ieg har anvent endel af min Tiid med at Coppere efter adskillige af de formemmest Anteker, har tillig Forfærdig en Byste i Marmur og Begynt paa en anden. i desse Dage agter ieg at begynde at Udførre en Gruppe af Baco og Ariadne som e eeg her har komponert: saa ieg haaber at kunde snart have den fornøelse at skekke Academiet noget ledet [lidet] af mit Arbeyde.
Mit Loges er for nerverrende Tiid paa hiørnet af Strada Babuina og den lille gade som gaaer til Theaterret Aliberti, hvar ieg har met Versted i Nerheden. For Resten søger iag og skal fremdeles stræbe at giøre den Anvendelse af met Ophold her som er overenstemmemde med men [min] bestemmelse og den mig af Academiet Givne Instrux.

 
Rom d: 5e. Januari: 1798
Underdanegst
Bertel Thorvaldsene
General Comment

Regarding receipt of this letter, the journal of the Academy of Fine arts of 26.2.1798 (The Danish National Archives, Kunstakademiets arkiv, Akademiforsamlingen) reads: “From the student, sculptor Thorvaldsen a letter arrived dated Rome, January 6th, in which he reports on his situation and his studies etc.” The academy secretary’s dating of the letter 6.1.1798 must be a mistake.
Apart from minor spelling differences this letter is identical with Thorvaldsen’s letter of 20.1.1798 to the Academy of Fine Arts. As both letters today are in the archives of the Academy of Fine Arts in Danish National Archives, they must both have been sent to and received by the Academy. A likely explanation of this could be that Thorvaldsen sent both letters because of the uncertain postal services in war-torn Europe.
The present version of the letter of 5.1.1798 has probably been sent by itself, cf. the recipient’s address in French on the front of the letter (see above under Recipient). The other version of the letter of 20.1.1798 may – because of the recipient’s address in Danish – have been sent inside another letter to Denmark or possibly carried by someone.
It is, however, natural to put forward the idea that Thorvaldsen sent the version of 20.1.1798 enclosed in a fair copy of the draft of ultimo 1797 to Nicolai Abildgaard (see the general commentary to this draft and Thiele I, p. 123). At any rate, Thorvaldsen used this practice of sending his letters to the Academy and Abildgaard together on later occasions, see e.g. his two letters of 12.10.1799 or, similarly, of 4.4.1800.

Archival Reference
Rigsarkivet, Kunstakademiets arkiv, Akademiforsamlingen, journalsager, 1798, nr. 18.
Document Type
Document, autograph
Thiele
Gengivet hos Thiele I, p. 123.
Subjects
Copying Antiquity · Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Reports For · Portrait Busts, Contemporary Persons · Statues, Classical Mythology · Thorvaldsen's Residences · Thorvaldsen's Dilligence · Thorvaldsen's Works, Copies after Antiquity · Thorvaldsen's Workshops
Works
Last updated 09.02.2016 Print