16.5.1833

Sender

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location

Rom

Recipient

C.F. Hansen

Recipient’s Location

København

Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.

Abstract

Thorvaldsen thanks Hansen for his letters in which he mentions the pleasure, expressed by many people, that he may come to Copenhagen. He is grateful for the appointment as director of the Academy of Fine arts, but he tries to lower people’s expectations by saying that his stay in Copenhagen will be brief, and that his experiences as director of the Accademia di San Luca have made him doubt that he is suited to be director. Thorvaldsen does not want his presence in Copenhagen to cause problems for J.L. Lund, who lives in his rooms at the academy. He lists those of his works in marble and plaster that can be sent home with the corvette Galathea if there is room for them at the Academy. He likes Hansen’s idea about mounting the relief Caritas, cf. A598, on a poor-box.

Document

Høistærede Hr Conferentsraad!

Deres gjentagne kjære BreveI, og den venskabelige Deeltagelse som min ærede Ven i disse lægger for Dagen, har høiligen glædet mig, og jeg takker Dem af Hjertet derfor. Ikke heller kan jeg uden glad Følelse bemærke den store Godhed, hvormed man fra alle Sider kommer mig imøde nu da jeg atter haaber at gjenseeII mit Fædreland.

I min Udnævnelse som Academiets DirecteurIII seer jeg et nyt Beviis paa den hædrende Opmærksomhed, som mit Hjem udviser mig. Jeg beklager kun at den kortere Tid, som jeg kan opholde mig i Danmark vil hindre mig i at forestaa dette Kald, som det fortjener, selv om jeg havde af Naturen den dertil fornødne Disposition, hvorom jeg dog høiligen maa tvivle da mit Præsident-Embede ved AcademietIV her i Rom har overtydet mig om det modsatte. I hvor om Alting er, veed jeg tilfulde at paaskjønne denne Hyldest, og Tanken om snart at være i Kiøbenhavn bliver mig stedse kjærere. Desto nødigere vilde jeg, at mit Ophold der skulde medføre nogensomhelst Uleilighed, og da jeg indseer det Ubehagelige for Hr: Professor LundV i at indrømme mig det af ham beboede Locale paa CharlottenborgVI, beder jeg Dem min ærede Ven at være overbeviist om, at et Soveværelse og et AttelierVII er Alt hvad jeg i saa Henseende udbeder mig.

Hans Kongelige Høihed Prinds ChristianVIII har anmodetIX mig om at hjemsende GibsafstøbningerX af de af mine Arbeider, som Academiet endnu ikke ejer, og ønsker tillige Architekt HansensXI Meddelelse om Transport-OmkostningerneXII i denne Anledning. Hansen er imidlertid tiltraadt sin Reise til GrækenlandXIII, og jeg skal derfor sørge for paa anden Maade at give den forlangte Underretning. Jeg anseer det for passende hermed at optegne for min ærede Ven Alt, hvad som fra min Haand kan blive hjemsendt saavel i Marmor som Gibs med Bøn om et Par Ord fra Dem i Tilfælde af at enkelte af Arbeidernes Størrelse muligen ikke svarede til Academiets Ønske.

Marmor

Christus.XIV
Den største Deel af Friesen Alexanders TriumfXV
En knælende EngelXVI (Døbefond)
DøbestenenXVII for Island
En knælende GanymedXVIII.
Tvende staaende GanymederXIX
MercurXX.
MarsXXI. (kolossal Statue)
Tvende i Kiøbenhavn modelerede BasreliefsXXII.
Dianeira og Nessus.XXIII (Basrelief)
H:K:H: Prinds Frederik’s og Gemahlindes BüsterXXIV.

Terra cotta

Tolv FigurerXXV, som udgjør Gruppen til Johannes Prædiken

Gibs.

HestenXXVI til Poniatowskýs Statue
CopernicousXXVII kolossale Statue
Lord Byrons StatueXXVIII
Tobias som helbreder sin FaderXXIX (Basrelief)
Adskjellige smaa BasreliefsXXX.

Tillige hjemsender jeg Afstøbninger af adskjellige antike Arbeider saasom:
Den skjønne FestonXXXI ved Portalet i Pantheon.
En Deel af de bedstconserverede Trophæer paa Pjedestalen af Colonna TrajanaXXXII
Fragment af en Hest med FigurXXXIII (Basrelief i Villa Albano)
Sarcofag med Basrelief af NiobeXXXIV. –

Deres IdeeXXXV hoistærede Ven med Hensyn til Carità-BasreliefetXXXVI er saare smuk, og dette Arbeide vilde maaskee være bedst placeret i SlotskirkenXXXVII, hvor de øvrige Arbeider ligeledes ere af Marmor

Da jeg tiltræder min Reise efter Skibets Afgang fra Livorno haaber jeg til EfteraaretXXXVIII at gjensee Kiøbenhavn, og da mundtlig udvikle migXXXIX med Hensyn til de TegningerXL, som min ærede Ven har tilsendt mig, og tillige bevidne Dem den Høiagtelse, hvormed jeg underskriver mig

Deres hengivne Ven

Rom d: 16de Maji 1833. Albert. Thorvaldsen

Oversættelse af dokument

Most honourable Konferensråd

Your repeated cherished letters and the friendly sympathy which my honourable friend here displays have pleased me greatly, and I sincerely thank you. Neither can I notice the great kindness without pleasure, with which I am met from all sides now when I hope to see my native land again.

In my appointment as the principal of the Academy of Fine Arts I see another proof of the honourable attention shown to me by my home. I only regret that the short time, which I can stay in Denmark will prevent me from being in charge of this vocation as it deserves, even if I naturally had the necessary disposition for it, which I must doubt sincerely as my presidency at the Academy here in Rome has convinced me of the opposite. Nevertheless I know how to appreciate this tribute fully and the thought of being in Copenhagen soon is ever more precious to me. The more reluctant I am that my stay should cause any trouble, and as I realize how inconvenient it must be to professor Lund to give me the premises at Charlottenborg in which he lives, I beg you, dear friend, to be persuaded that a bedchamber and a studio are what I ask for in that respect.

His royal highness prince Christian has asked me to send home plaster casts of those of my works, which the Academy does not own yet, and he also wants the architect Mr Hansen’s information about the transport charges on this occasion. In the meantime Mr Hansen has started his journey to Greece so I shall take care to give the information asked for in another way. I think it proper here to note down everything to my honourable friend, which can be sent home from my hand in marble as well as in plaster with a request for a couple of words from you should the size of some of the works not meet the wish of the Academy.

Marble

Christ.
The greater part of the Frieze Alexander’s Triumph
A kneeling angel (Baptismal font)
The Baptismal Stone for Iceland
A kneeling Ganymede
Two standing Ganymedes
Mercury
Mars (colossal statue)
Two bas-relief modelled in Copenhagen
Dianeira and Nessus (Bas-relief)
H.R.H. Prince Frederik’s and spouse’s busts

Terra cotta

Twelve figures forming the group for John the Baptist Preaching

Plaster

The horse for Poniatowsky’s statue
The colossal statue of Copernicus
Lord Byron’s statue
Tobias healing his father (bas-relief)
Several small bas-reliefs

Besides I send home casts of several antique works such as:
The beautiful festoon on the portal in the Pantheon
Some of the best preserved trophies on the pedestal of Colonna Trajana
Fragment of a horse with figure (bas-relief in Villa Albano)
Sarcophagus with bas-relief of Niobe. -

Your idea, honourable friend, as regards the Caritá bas-relief is very beautiful, and this work would perhaps be placed best in the Palace Church, where the other works are also of marble.

As I begin my journey after the ship’s departure from Leghorn I hope to see Copenhagen again in the autumn and then verbally give my opinion about the drawings which my honourable friend has sent to me and also show you the respect with which I sign

Your respectful friend

Rome, May 16th 1833. Albert Thorvaldsen


[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

The letter was acquired by Thorvaldsens Museum in1936 from a descendant of C.F. Hansen together with 86 other letters to the architect, cf. THM j.nr. 5, 11/1936.

Document Type

Færdigt dokument af koncipist

Amanuensis

Ludvig Bødtcher

Comment on amanuensis

Der er antagelig tale om Ludvig Bødtcher.

Archival Reference

m28A I, nr. 17

Thiele

Omtalt hos Thiele III, p. 483-484.

Subjects

Persons

Works

A42 Ganymedes skænker i skålen, 1816, inv.nr. A42
A455 Amor og Hymen, 1831, inv.nr. A455
A503 Alexander den Stores indtog i Babylon, 1812, inv.nr. A503
A44 Ganymedes med Jupiters ørn, 1817, inv.nr. A44
A82 Kristus, 1821, inv.nr. A82
A67 En jæger, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A67
A112 Dåbens engel knælende, 1827-1828, inv.nr. A112
A873 Merkur som Argusdræber, 1818, inv.nr. A873
A59 Johannes Døberen , 1821-1822, inv.nr. A59
A60 En ung mand, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A60
A61 En søn med sin far, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A61
A62 En mor med sin søn, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A62
A63 En gammel skriftklog, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A63
A64 En liggende dreng, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A64
A65 En dreng, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A65
A66 En farisæer, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A66
A68 To børn, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A68
A69 En mor med sit barn, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A69
A70 En hyrde, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A70
A598 Caritas, 1810, inv.nr. A598
A753 Christian (8.) Frederik, 1821, inv.nr. A753
A125 Hest , 1822-1823, inv.nr. A125
A113 Nicolaus Copernicus, 1822, inv.nr. A113
A613 Gravmæle over Vaccà Berlinghieri, 1828, inv.nr. A613
A425 Hyrdinde med en amorin-rede, 1831, inv.nr. A425
A376 Amor og gratierne, 1831, inv.nr. A376
A754 Caroline Amalie, 1820-1821, inv.nr. A754
A557 Kristi dåb, 1820, inv.nr. A557
A558 Den hellige nadver indstiftes, 1820, inv.nr. A558
A854 Ganymedes rækker skålen, 1804, inv.nr. A854
A480 Nessus og Deianira, 1814, inv.nr. A480
A415 Amor hos Anakreon, Vinteren, 1823, inv.nr. A415
A6 Mars og Amor, 1862, inv.nr. A6
A555 Døbefont, Kristi dåb, 1805-1807, inv.nr. A555,1
A555 Døbefont, Maria med Jesus og Johannes, 1805-1807, inv.nr. A555,2
A555 Døbefont, Tre svævende engle, 1805-1807, inv.nr. A555,3
A555 Døbefont, Kristus velsigner børnene, 1805-1807, inv.nr. A555,4
A395 Amor og Ganymedes, 1831, inv.nr. A395
A132 George Gordon Byron, 1831, inv.nr. A132
A392 Amor og Jupiter, 1831, inv.nr. A392
A398 Amor og en hund, 1831, inv.nr. A398
A353 Pan og en satyr, 1831, inv.nr. A353
A399 Amor og en sommerfugl, 1831, inv.nr. A399
A390 Amor på løvens ryg, 1831, inv.nr. A390
A394 Amor, Jupiter og Juno, 1831, inv.nr. A394
A738 Thorvaldsen, Sommariva og en græsk kriger, 1818-1827, inv.nr. A738

Commentaries

  1. Cf.:

  2. Thorvaldsen considered going to Copenhagen in the autumn of 1833, cf. the Thorvaldsen Chronology April 1833.

  3. On 28.3.1833, Thorvaldsen was appointed director of The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.

  4. On 16.12.1825, Thorvaldsen was elected president of the Accademia di S. Luca, Rome.

  5. The Danish painter J.L. Lund.

  6. >J.L. Lund lived in Thorvaldsen’s residence at Charlottenborg from 1820 and probably until 1838, cf. the related article Thorvaldsen’s Residence, Studio, and Museum in the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

  7. Christian (8.) Frederik remarked later that Thorvaldsen was “far too modest in his requirements for a residence”, cf. letter dated 9.6.1833 to C.F. Hansen. See also the subject Thorvaldsen’s Modesty.

  8. The Danish Prince Christian (8.) Frederik.

  9. Cf. letter dated 26.2.1833 from Christian (8.) Frederik to Thorvaldsen:

    “If casts have been taken of more of your statues and bas-reliefs which the Academy does not yet own, it would be in accordance with its wishes to seize this opportunity to acquire them. “

  10. Cf. the article Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

  11. The Danish architect Christian Hansen.

  12. Christian (8.) Frederik had requested that Christian Hansen be asked to estimate the cost of buying and packing the plaster casts since the transportation from Leghorn to Copenhagen with the other things was free, cf. letter dated 26.2.1833 from Christian (8.) Frederik to Thorvaldsen.

  13. Christian Hansen had left Rome in February 1833 in order to go to Naples and Sicily. In July 1833, he went on to Athens, where he was to live until 1850.

  14. Christ, marble, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A82.

  15. Alexander the Great’s Entry into Babylon (the Alexander Frieze), marble, Christiansborg Palace. The frieze was badly damaged in the palace fire in 1884, cf. the article Commission for Christiansborg Palace.

  16. Baptismal Angel Kneeling, marble, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A112.

  17. Baptismal Font, marble version, Reykjavik Cathedral, Iceland, cf. A555,1, A555,2 , A555,3, A555,4.

  18. Ganymede with Jupiter’s Eagle, marble, A44.

  19. * Ganymede Offering the Cup, marble version, A854.

  20. Mercury about to Kill Argus, marble version, A873.

  21. Mars and Cupid, marble version, A6.

  22. The two reliefs, which were modelled in Copenhagen 1819-1820 and then carved in marble in Rome, were:

  23. Nessus and Deianira, marble, A480.

  24. * Christian (8.) Frederik, marble version, cf. A753.

  25. John the Baptist Preaching, terracotta, the pediment of the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A64, A63, A62, A61, A60, A59, A65, A66, A67, A68, A69, A70, and cf. the article Commission for the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen.

  26. Horse, part of the monument to Poniatowski, probably a plaster cast, cf. A125, cf. the article Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

  27. Nicolaus Copernicus, plaster cast, cf. A113, which Thorvaldsen, however, chose not to send home this time as it might be too big (277.2 cm) for the rooms at the Academy, cf. the article Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts.

  28. George Gordon Byron, plaster cast, A132, cf. the article Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

  29. Tobias Healing his Father’s Blindness in Monument to Vaccà Berlinghieri, plaster cast, cf. A613, cf. the article Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

  30. The following plaster casts of Thorvaldsen’s “small” reliefs were sent to the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1833. See also the article
    Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen:

  31. I.e. a plaster cast of the festoon on the portal to the Pantheon, Rome, ca 120 A.D.
    The festoon contains flowers and fruits hanging from two candelabra, repeated six times.

  32. Thorvaldsen sent home plaster casts of the best-preserved trophies and part of the cornice of the pedestal of Trajan’s Column.

    Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the pedestal and base of Trajan’s Column

    Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the cornice of the pedestal of Trajan’s Column

    Trajan’s Column is a marble column in Rome, erected in 113 A.D. in honour of the Roman Emperor Trajan (ca 53-117). A frieze on the column illustrates Trajan’s two campaigns against the Dacians in 101-102 and 105-106.

  33. The plaster cast of the antique relief of a horse and a human figure in the Villa Albani in Rome has not been identified.
    Among other things, the villa housed a number of antique reliefs which the Danish archaeologist, numismatist, and philologist Georg Zoëga had catalogued, cf. Li bassirilievi antichi di Roma, vol. I-II, Rome 1808, cf. Thorvaldsens Library, M155.

  34. Artemis and Apollo Killing Niobe’s Children, relief from a sarcophagus, marble, Roman, ca 150 A.D., Museo archeologico nazionale di Venezia, inv.nr. 24.

  35. C.F. Hansen had suggested that the relief Caritas, cf. A598, be mounted on a marble pedestal and made into a poor-box:

    “as its first purpose was charity, it seems to me that, because of its modest size, it might be mounted on a marble pedestal that could be made into a poor-box, either for the Christiansborg Palace Chapel or the Church of Our Lady.”

  36. Caritas, marble, the poor box, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A598. See also the article Thorvaldsen’s Donation to Hans Henrik Gunnerus.

  37. I.e. the Christiansborg Palace Chapel.

  38. I.e. the autumn of 1833. Thorvaldsen, however, chose to remain in Rome and did not come to Copenhagen until the autumn of 1838.

  39. Dvs. “give sin mening til kende om”, jf. Ordbog over det danske Sprog.

  40. These drawings by C.F. Hansen of the potential setting of the Caritas relief have not been identified.

Last updated 14.03.2017