Medio april 1804

Sender

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location

Rom

Recipient

Herman Schubart

Recipient’s Location

Napoli

Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Brevet er skrevet efter Thorvaldsens modtagelse af brevet fra Fonden ad usus publicos, der er dateret 6.3.1804, men først approberet 14.3.1804 og derefter afsendt fra København. Regner man en brevekspeditionstid på minimum 14 dage og antagelig mere (se referenceartiklen om postekspeditionstider), må Thorvaldsen have modtaget Fondens brev i begyndelsen af april 1804. Hertil kommer, at Thorvaldsen skriver, at han “med første Post” vil svare Fonden. Hans svarbrev er datereret 24.4.1804, og da det af nærværende brevudkast fremgår, at han svarer Schubart, før han skrev tilbage til Fonden, må dette brevudkast til Schubart være skrevet medio april 1804.

Abstract

Thorvaldsen writes that he has received a grant of 300 rix-dollars from the Danish King. He thanks Schubarts for having supported him. Thorvaldsen’s health has been so poor that he has hardly been able to work, and he has only recentlybeen strong enough to finish some works. His doctor has recommended him to travel, and in the near future he plans to go to Naples with Count Moltke, who has commissioned a Bacchus and an Ariadne from him.

Document

Med denne Post har jeg modtaget et BrevI, der har gjort mig usigelig megen Glæde og, giver mig den bedste Forventning for en lykkelig FremtidII. Man har ej blot værdiget det lidet jeg har kunnet frembringe i Kunsten en Opmærksomhed, der langt overgaaer mine dristigste Forhaabninger, men endog forskaffet mig Hans Kongelige Høyhed KronprindsensIII Velvellie, og gjort Forestilling om mig til Hans MajestætIV, som har ladet mig tilkjændegive sin Naade og Tilfredshed og tilføyet en Gave af 300 rd.
Det kan kun være Dem, ädleste Hr Baron! paa hvis store Godhed milde Omdømme jeg har havt saamange Prøver at jeg skylder denne Lykke. Vær forvisset om, at det altid skal blive min innigste Bestræbelse at fortjæne saa megen Godhed. Med første PostV tænker jeg at tilkjendegive at bevidne min aller underdanigste Taknemmelighed for CommissionenVI.
Men allerførst maa Deres Exelenz tillade mig at takke Dem, som den første Aarsag. –
Med mit HelbredVII gaaer det maadeligt. Jeg har længe været plaget af henfaldet i en Følesløshed, saa jeg saa godt som ikke kunde arbejde; nu har jeg begyndt igjen at faee nogen Lyst dertil, og har faaet Modellen til Greve Bernstorfs BusteVIII, og Greve MoltkesIX og og nogle andre ModellerX færdige. Men Arbejdet griber mit Nervesystem altfor voldsomt an. DoctorenXI og alle mine Venner raade mig at gjøre en Rejse. Jeg tænker derfor at modtage Greve Moltkes saa gode Tilbud, at følg[e…] for hvem jeg skal gjøre[...] som har bestillt en Bachus og en Ariadne hos mig, til Neapel. Det eneste som her holde mig[...]
Da Deres Exelens med saa megen Godhed indbød mig, afholdt Prindsesse GallizinXII mig, som var den første der bestilte noget Arbejde hos mig efter Deres ExelensXIII. Nu er jeg igjen saa lykkelig at Greve MoltkeXIV, af hvem jeg har nydt særdeles megen Godhed i denne Vinter, og som har bestillt en Bacchus og en AriadneXV hos mig, vil tage mig med til NeapelXVI. Det eneste som holdt mig tilbage var Tanken, at det jeg maaske ved at blive her kunde finde Lejlighed til ved en eller anden liden Tjæneste at vise min Erkjændtlighed mod Deres Ex. En Lejlighed jeg paa ingen Maade ville undgaae lade unyttet. Men da det endnu gaaer an at jeg kommer til Neapel nogle Dage før end De tager [...]XVII

Oversættelse af dokument

In this mail I have received a letter which has given me inexpressibly great joy and gives me confidence of a happy future. They have not only vouchsafed attention to what little I have been able to produce in art, which far exceeds my most sanguine expectations, but also procured for me the goodwill of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and made representation about me to His Majesty who has expressed his favour and satisfaction to me and added a present of 300 rix-dollars.
It can only be to you most noble Sir Baron of whose great kindness mild estimation I have had so many proofs that I owe this happiness. Be assured that it will always be my most sincere endeavour to deserve so much kindness. By the next mail I intend to represent to express my very most humble gratitude to the Commission.
But first and foremost Your Excellency must permit me to thank you as the first cause. –
I am in poor health. For a long time I have suffered given myself up to callousness, so that I practically have not been able to work; now I have begun again to feel like it and have finished the model to Count Bernstorff’s bust and Count Moltke’s and some other models. But the work attacks my nervous system too violently. The doctor and as well as all my friends advise me to travel. That is why I think I shall accept Count Moltke’s good offer to follow [...] for whom I shall make [...] who has commissioned a Bacchus and an Ariadne from me, to Naples. The only thing which keeps me here [...]
When Your Excellency with so much kindness invited me Princess Golitsyna prevented me who was the first to commission some work from me after Your Excellency. Now I am again so happy that Count Moltke from whom I have enjoyed very much kindness this winter and who has commissioned a Bacchus and an Ariadne from me, will take me to Naples. The only thing that detained me was the thought that it by staying here I might find a possibility to show my gratitude to Your Excellency by some small favour. A possibility I by no means would avoid leave unused. But as it will still do that I arrive in Naples some days before you leave [...]

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

Draft letter in an unknown hand. Fragment. There is an even smaller fragment of the same letter by Thorvaldsen himself.

Document Type

Udkast af koncipist

Amanuensis

NN

Comment on amanuensis

Koncipisten er endnu uidentificeret, men kaldes af hensyn til senere sammenligning nr. 2. Koncipisten er identisk med den hånd, der hjalp Thorvaldsen med brevudkast af medio april 1804 til Fonden ad usus publicos.

Archival Reference

m28, nr. 116

Thiele

Gengivet hos Thiele I, p. 219-220.

Subjects

Persons

Works

A209 A.P. Bernstorff, 1804, inv.nr. A209
A212 Adam Gottlob Detlef Moltke, 1803-1804, inv.nr. A212
A304 Jevdokija Ivanovna Golitsyna, 1803-1804, inv.nr. A304
A302 Ivan Vorontsov?, 1803-1804, inv.nr. A302
A2_ Bacchus, 1804, inv.nr. A2

Commentaries

  1. In the spring of 1804, Thorvaldsen received a grant of 300 rix-dollars from the public foundation Fonden ad usus publicos. See letter of 6.3.1804 from the foundation to Thorvaldsen

  2. If the gratification from Fonden ad usus publicos made Thorvaldsen believe in a happy future, it was not least because the grant indirectly justified his continued stay abroad. The gratification was not just a matter of financial support, but it also had to be regarded as official approval for Thorvaldsen to remain in Rome instead of immediately returning to Denmark, as he was otherwise obliged to do as the recipient of a scholarship from the Academy of Fine Arts, cf. the related article Thorvaldsen’s Continuance in Rome.

  3. I.e. Crown Prince Frederik (6.).

  4. I.e. Christian 7..

  5. Thorvaldsen thanked the directors of Fonden ad usus publicos in letter of 24.4.1804.
    There is also a first draft of the letter of thanks, see the draft letter of “the middle of April 1804”:/dokumenter/m28,nr.118.

  6. I.e. Fonden ad usus publicos; the word commission is used here about the directors of the foundation: Christian Ditlev Reventlow and Ernst Schimmelmann, cf. Ordbog over det danske Sprog, pkt. 2.
    The word commission was also used in this sense in another draft of the middle of April 1804 to Fonden ad usus publicos, which was written by the same copyist as this letter – possibly on the same occasion

  7. See the related article about Thorvaldsen’s Illness 1803-04. In letter of 25.2.1804 to Abildgaard, Thorvaldsen also mentions that he has not been able to work because of illness.

  8. Probably the bust of A.P. Bernstorff, A209, which Herman Schubart commissioned in 1803. The bust, which was not completed in marble until 1806, did not end up with Schubart but is in Thorvaldsens Museum today, see letter of 12.11.1803 from Schubart to Thorvaldsen.

  9. The bust of Adam Gottlob Detlev Moltke, A212.

  10. Besides the bust of Moltke, A212, Thorvaldsen may be referring to the busts that he mentions in his letter of around 1.2.1804 to Schubart: Jevdokija Ivanovna Golitsyna, A304; Ivan Vorontsov, possibly A302.

  11. Probably the German doctor Heinrich Kohlrausch.

  12. The Russian Princess Jevdokija Ivanovna Golitsyna.
    It is not known whether Golitsyna commissioned any works from Thorvaldsen, but it might be the commission of her own portrait, A304 and/or the portrait of her nephew Ivan Vorontsov, possibly A302.
    It might also be that Thorvaldsen or the copyist has confused Golitsyna with her sister Countess Vorontsova, who, with her large commission of five statues at the beginning of 1804, was one of the first “to commission some work” from Thorvaldsen.
    Regarding this, see the related article about Vorontsova’s Commission.

  13. This is probably a reference to the above-mentioned bust of A.P. Bernstorff, A209, which Schubart commissioned in the autumn of 1803, see his letter of 12.11.1803 to Thorvaldsen.

  14. The Danish-German Adam Gottlob Detlev Moltke.

  15. This commission for the two statues, however, came to nothing. Grev Moltke asked Thorvaldsen to suspend the work in letter of 8.6.1807 – probably for financial reasons. Work on the commission was never resumed.
    It appears from the letter of 8.6.1807 that the commission was for two “kleinen Statuen”. The Bacchus was probably going to be a copy of the Bacchus which Thorvaldsen modelled in 1804, A2, as part of Countess Vorontsova’s Commission.
    Thiele I, p. 201 mentions erroneously that Count Moltke commissioned a statue of Apollo.
    It is not known whether Thorvaldsen modelled a statue of Aridane, but he had modelled a group, Bacchus and Ariadne, A1, as early as 1798.

  16. In April 1804, Thorvaldsen accompanied the Moltke family to Naples, where they met Schubart, who was leaving Naples to go to Leghorn.
    See also theThorvaldsen Chronology.

  17. The draft ends abruptly, but the continuation may have been intended to assure Schubart that Thorvaldsen would still be able to get to Naples before the Schubart family went north to Leghorn.
    In his letter of 12.11.1803, Schubart had strongly urged the sculptor to visit him in Naples.

Last updated 24.04.2015