25.5.1820

Sender

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location

København

Recipient

Slotsbygningskommissionen

Recipient’s Location

København

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.

Abstract

Thorvaldsen firmly declines the proposal of the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace that the Academy’s collection of plaster casts of Thorvaldsen’s works be placed at Christiansborg Palace. Instead, the Academy should be given more space at Charlottenburg so that Thorvaldsen’s collection can be placed close to the collection of antique casts and be of benefit to the students. The Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace may, if desired, have its own plaster casts made from the moulds that the Academy is now paying for. The composition Jupiter, Minerva and Nemesis, cf. A316, will be placed at Christiansborg Palace and another pediment will be executed for the Town Hall and Court House, for which statues of the Greek legislators Solon and Lycurgus will also be made. Thorvaldsen is pleased that Hermann Ernst Freund has been given other assignments as compensation for the work that Thorvaldsen has been asked to assume. Thorvaldsen asks for the first instalment on the Alexander Frieze, cf. A503, and the two caryatids, cf. A55 and A56, for a previously arranged sum to cover his travelling expenses, and for advance payment for new works for the Church of Our Lady, Christiansborg Palace, and the Town Hall and Court House.

Document

Commissionen har behaget under 27 Dec. f.A.I at tilskrive mig og tilkiendegive mig dens Bestemmelse at overdrage mig Udførelsen af en Christus FigurII i Marmor til Alteret i SlotskirkenIII, ligesom og 2de ChariatiderIV og Frisen: Alexanders Indtog i Babylon:V i Marmor udføres –

Iøvrigt yttrer Commissionen Attraae til at erholde Gibs Afstøbninger af mine ældre Arbeider – KunstacademietVI lader dem for Øieblikket afforme, og modtager Afstøbninger tilligemed FormerneVII – Saaledes kan da fra Academiet i Fremtiden Afstøbninger erholdes til SlottetsVIII Decoration –

Commissionens Tilbud at indrømme Plads til at optage Academiets SamlingIX i Slottet da Academiet ikke selv har Plads dertil, er et Bevis paa Dens RedebonhedX til at komme Academiet til Hielp – Ønskeligere maatte det dog sikkert være om Academiet gaves Leilighed til Udvidelse af sit eget Locale, for at sætte AntiksalenXI i Forbindelse med Samlingen der saaledes kunde tiene Academiets Elever til Veiledning. Commissionens Medvirkning til dette Øiemed naar Leilighed gives, smigrer jeg mig med i Haab om et heldigt Udfald

Da Commissionen har bifaldet mit Forslag at anvende CompositionenXII for Raad og DomhusetsXIII Fronton til SlottetsXIV Fronton, skal jeg ifølge Deres Begiering afgive en anden CompositionXV for Domhuset ligesom og besørge de 2de. Lovgiveres Solons og LykurgsXVI Statuer – Den særdeles Interesse disse Bygninger vækker hos mig til at biedrage efter Evne til deres Forskiønnelse, og saavidt mueligt give mit Arbeide Varighed hvor det er udsat for Veirligets Paavirkning, har bestemt mig til ved min Ankomst til RomXVII at giøre Forsøg med at lade Modeller i Leer brænde. Naar dette lykkes som jeg formoder, vil en betydelig Bekostning vinde imod Brugen af Steen, og Anvendelsen af Plastikken som nøie staar i Forbindelse med Architecturen, derved lettes.

Comissionens Hensigt at fremme mit Ønske ved at overdrage FreundXVIII noget Arbeide der kunde bære hans Navn er mig særdeles kiær, da han derved erstattes Savnet i Udførelsen af Apostlerne til Frue KirkeXIX som var ham overdraget men nu senere tillagt mig for at give disse fuldkommen Overenstemmelse i Stilen med Christus FigurenXX for Høialtret

Hvad angaar Commissionens BegieringXXI at underrettes om hvad Forskud maatte være nødvendigt for at iværksætte de mig overdragne Arbeider, og hvad Omkostning med Reisen maatte være forbunden da giver jeg mig den Frihed i Henhold til Commissionens Skrivelse af 20 July 1818XXII at andrage paa 1ste Termins Udbetaling for FrisenXXIII til Slottet som er under Arbeide og ChariatiderneXXIV som næsten ere færdige

Summa – 5000 Spec.

Dernæst i Henhold til Commissionens Skrivelse af 16 Febr. 1816XXV ang. Reisen m.m.
Reiseomkostning hertil
9 Maaneders Ophold .
Reiseomkostninger tilbage
700 Spec
900
700 –
 
} 2300 Spec

De 5000 Spec. ombedes anviist paa Schultheis BanquierXXVI i Rom, hvorimod jeg attraaer at have her de 2300 Spec. og da jeg staaer i Begreb med at afreiseXXVII skulde jeg ærbødigst udbede mig Sagen snarest mueligtXXVIII berigtiget –

I Henseende til de øvrige Arbeider som ere mig overdragne da vil jeg ikke kunne angive nogen fast Sum til Udbetaling i Forskud, men henstiller til Commissionen det Forslag at aabne mig en KreditXXIX hos bemeldte Schulteis i Rom paa 4. a 5.000 Spec. til efterhaanden at kunne hæves, for at bestride de Udgivter som maatte være forbundne med Anskaffelse af Materiale og med at lønne flere unge KunstnereXXX som jeg under min Veiledning agter at bruge til disse Arbeider – hvorved en hensigtsmæssig Oeconomie kan opnaaes da disse unge Mænd mere see paa Leilighed til at lære, end til at have fuld Løn for Arbeidet –

Det Indtryk de omtalte Pragtbygninger have efterladt hos mig vil være mig en Spore til at sørge for ufortøvet ved min Ankomst til Rom at iværksætte og snarest fremme de mig betroede Arbeider til deres Forskiønnelse med den Omhyggelighed fra Konstens Side og den Omsorg i oeconomisk Henseende jeg anseer mig at skylde mit Fædreland

Kiøbenhavn 25 May 1820 A Thorvaldsen

Oversættelse af dokument

It has pleased the Commission to write to me bearing the date of December 27th last year to inform me of its decision to assign to me the execution of a figure of Christ in marble for the altar in the chapel of the Palace as well as the two Caryatids and the Frieze: Alexander the Great’s Entry into Babylon: to be executed in marble –

Besides, the Commission expresses desire to obtain plaster casts of my earlier works – At the moment the Academy of Fine Arts is having casts taken of them and receive the casts as well as the moulds – In this way it will be possible in future to obtain casts from the Academy of Fine Arts for the decoration of the Palace

The offer of the Commission to give room for admitting the collection of the Academy of Fine Arts into the Palace as the Academy of Fine Arts itself has no room is proof of their readiness to come to the assistance of the Academy of Fine Arts – It might however, be more desirable if the Academy of Fine Arts were given a chance to extend its premises to connect the hall of antiques to the collection which thus might serve the pupils of the Academy of Fine Arts for instructions. In the hope of its success I indulge in the participation of the Commission for this purpose as occasion arises –

As the Commission has approved of my proposal to use the composition for the fronton of the Råd- og Domhuset for the fronton of the Palace I shall according to its request surrender another composition for Domhuset [the Courthouse] as well as make the two legislators’ Solon’s and Lycurgus’ statues – The extreme interest these buildings awaken in me to contribute to the best of my ability to their embellishment and as far as possible to give my work duration where it is exposed to the influence of the weather has made me decide at my arrival in Rome to make experiments with burning models in clay. When I succeed in this, as I presume, a considerable expenditure will win against the use of stone, and the application of the plastic art closely connected to the architecture by this will be lightened.

The Commission’s intention to further my wish by assigning to Freund some work which might bear his name is very dear to me as in this way he will be compensated for the loss of the execution of the apostles for the Church of Our Lady which had been assigned to him but now later have been assigned to me to give them perfect harmony in style with the figure of Christ for the high altar.

Regarding the Commission’s request to be informed about the advance necessary to initiate the works transferred to me and what costs might be connected with the journey I take the liberty referring to the Commission’s favour of July 20th 1818 to apply for the payment of the first instalment for the Frieze for the Palace which is being worked at and the Caryatids which are almost finished.

Sum – 5000 Spec.

Next, referring to the Commission’s favour of February 16th 1816 concerning the journey etc.
Travelling expenses to this place
9 months’ sojourn
Travelling expenses Back
700 Spec
900
700 –
 
}2300 Spec

I beg to have the 5000 Spec. Assigned for Schultheis Banker in Rome, whereas I desire to have the 2300 Spec. Here, and as I am on the point of leaving I should most humbly request the matter to be settled as soon as possible

As regards the other works which have been assigned to me I shan’t be able to state a fixed sum for payment in advance, but suggest the proposal to the Commission to open a credit for me at the above mentioned Schultheis in Rome of 4. To 5.000 Spec. To be drawn little by little to defray the expenses which might be connected to the purchase of material and to pay various young artists whom I intend to use under my guidance for these works – by which an appropriate economy may be obtained as these young men more regard it as an occasion to learn, than to receive full pay for their work.

The impression the mentioned magnificent buildings have left with me will act as a spur on me immediately at my arrival in Rome to initiate and as soon as possible to further the works assigned to me for their embellishment with the care from art and economically which I consider to owe to my native land

Copenhagen, May 25th 1820 A Thorvaldsen


[Translated by Karen Husum]

Document Type

Færdigt dokument af koncipist

Amanuensis

Peder Malling

Archival Reference

Rigsarkivet, Rentekammeret, Slotsbygningskommissionen, Sager vedr. Thorvaldsen og Dalhoff, A. Thorvaldsen sager, II. Sager til C-Journalen 1820-1833, journalnummer C 372.

Thiele

Omtalt hos Thiele III, p. 290 (her fejlagtigt dateret 25.5.1826).

Other references

Subjects

Persons

Works

A82 Kristus, 1821, inv.nr. A82
A55 Karyatide, 1813, inv.nr. A55
A56 Karyatide, 1813, inv.nr. A56
A503 Alexander den Stores indtog i Babylon, 1812, inv.nr. A503
A316 Jupiter, Minerva og Nemesis, ca 1822, inv.nr. A316
A554 Salomons dom, 1835, inv.nr. A554

Commentaries

  1. Cf. letter dated 27.12.1819 from the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace to Thorvaldsen.

  2. Christ, marble, cf. A82. At this time, the plan was still that the sculpture was intended for Christiansborg Palace Chapel and not the Church of Our Lady, where it was ultimately placed.

  3. I.e. Christiansborg Palace Chapel.

  4. Cf. Caryatids, marble, Christiansborg Palace, were destroyed in the fire of 1884, cf. A55 and A56.

    See also documents regarding the subject Christiansborg Palace, the Throne Room.

  5. I.e. Alexander the Great’s Entry into Babylon (the Alexander Frieze), marble version, Christiansborg Palace, cf. A503.

    See also documents regarding the subject the Alexander Frieze, Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen.

  6. I.e. the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen i København.

  7. Cf. the article Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts.

  8. I.e. Christiansborg Palace.

  9. I.e. the collection of plaster casts after Thorvaldsen’s works which the Academy of Fine Arts, through Christian (8.) Frederik, had commissioned in 1818.

  10. Dvs. villighed, som med glæde, altid eller straks er parat eller rede til noget, især til at yde en tjeneste, udføre gode handlinger, jf. redebon, Ordbog over det danske Sprog.

  11. I.e. the hall of antiquities with the Academy’s collection of plaster casts of antique works of art.
    See also documents regarding the subject Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Hall of Antiquities.

  12. Cf. Jupiter, Minerva and Nemesis, original model, A316.

  13. Cf. the article Commission for the Copenhagen Town Hall and Courthouse.

  14. I.e. Christiansborg Palace.

  15. Cf. The Judgment of Solomon, original model, A554.

  16. I.e. statues of the two Greek legislators Solon and Lycurgus, which C.F. Hansen had commissioned for the façade of the Town Hall and Court House, cf. his letter dated 31.12.1806 to Thorvaldsen.

  17. Cf. the Thorvaldsen Chronology 16.12.1820.

  18. The Danish-German sculptor Hermann Ernst Freund.

  19. Thorvaldsen had promised the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace to accept the commission for twelve apostles for the Church of Our Lady, originally given to Freund, on the condition that Freund was offered other work. Instead, Freund was given the task of decorating the main staircases of Christiansborg Palace with several sculptures and reliefs and of executing the Four Evangelists for Christiansborg Palace Chapel.

  20. Cf. Christ, cf. A82, which had originally been intended for the Christiansborg Palace Chapel but was now to be placed in the Church of Our Lady.

  21. Cf. letter dated 27.12.1819 from the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace to Thorvaldsen.

  22. Cf. letter dated 20.6.1818 from the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace to Thorvaldsen.

  23. I.e. Alexander the Great’s Entry into Babylon (the Alexander Frieze), marble version, Christiansborg Palace, cf. A503.

    See also documents regarding the subject the Alexander Frieze, Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen.

  24. Cf. Caryatids, marble, Christiansborg Palace, were destroyed in the fire of 1884, cf. A55 and A56.

    See also documents regarding the subject Christiansborg Palace, the Throne Room.

  25. Cf. letter dated 6.2.1816 from the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace to Thorvaldsen.

  26. Cf. the Italian banker Mariano Schultheiss, whose bank Thorvaldsen used occasionally.

  27. Cf. the Thorvaldsen Chronology 11.8.1820.

  28. The money was paid shortly afterwards, cf. letter dated 7.6.1820 from the Building Commission for Christiansborg Plalace to Thorvaldsen.

  29. The advance payment was granted, cf. letter dated
    7.6.1820 from the Building Commission for Christiansborg Palace to Thorvaldsen.

  30. Cf. the article Thorvaldsen’s Assistants.

Last updated 03.01.2017