19.1.1812

Sender

J.L. Lund

Sender’s Location

København

Recipient

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Recipient’s Location

Rom

Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.

Abstract

An attempt to persuade Thorvaldsen to visit Denmark. Information about life at home and greetings from mutual friends.

Document

Kiøbenhavn d 19d Januari 1812.

Kiære Ven

Det er længe sidenI jeg har foretaget mig at skrive Dem til, men De Veed selvII best, hvor vanskelig det er, at udføre slige Foresætninger; men nu bliver det Alvor, jeg tager Pennen i Haanden, og om det ikke bliver et langt Brev, De faaer denne gang, saa skal det da i det mindste blive et par Ord, for at kalde mig tilbage i Deres Erindring.
Hr. KellermannIII, en af vores gode Landsmænd, som har været nogen Tid etableret i Livorno, reiser i disse Dage tilbage til Italien, han vil have den Godhed, at tage disse Linier med, og give dem i Livorno paa Posten, formodentlig kommer han selv til Foraaret til Rom, og ifald at MunkIV, hvis særdeles Ven han er, skulde til den Tid have forladt Rom, saa recommanderer jeg ham til Dem, for at være ham behielpelig, at nyde Rom saa godt som muelig.
Hovedmotiven af disse Linier er, mit Ønske at kunde bidrage noget, at overtale Dem til en kort Besøg til os herV. Hvor meget jeg end ønsker at see Dem her paa nogen Tid, saa vilde det være alt for egoistisk af mig, ifald jeg ønskede det blot for mig selv, men da jeg troer, at det vilde være til Deres store Fordeel om De giorde en Reise hertil, saa kan jeg med god Samvittighed sige Dem, at De ikke vilde fortryde det, om De lod Dem bevæge dertil. Jeg veed at Kammerher SchubartVI har Comission, at giøre Dem dette ForslagVII og meddeele Dem tillige, paa hvad Vilkaar man ønsker at see Dem her. Da jeg nu veed, at De selv siden lang Tid har besluttet at giøre engang en Besøg til Kiøbenhavn, og de vigtige Arbeider som venter her paa Dem, sikker kan være en mægtig Motiv til denne Reise, saa haaber jeg at min Forventning at see Dem her til ForaarVIII, vil blive opfyldt. De vil sikker glæde Dem over, at se Kiøbenhavn prydet med saadan architektoniske Værker, saa skiøn og ædel tænkt og udført, at jeg tør vove at sige, den nyere Architektur har inte at opvise sligt; og det er Grund nok til at haabe, at De ogsaa med Fornoielse vil bidrage ved Deres Arbeider, til disse ypperlige Bygningers Fuldkommenhed. De mange collossal Statuer, til SlottetIX, RaadstuenX, og Frue KirkenXI, foruden saa mange andre Arbeider, er vist Gienstande som er Deres Kunst værdig: og det er det, hvorpaa jeg grunder mit Haab, at see Dem snart her. Hvad Interessen angaaer, saa troer jeg sikker De vil finde Deres Regning derved, og naar dette forener sig, med den Tanke, at udføre saadane vigtige colossale Værker, saa vil De selv indsee at det vel lønner Umagen, at forlade Rom paa nogen Tid, for siden at kunde gaae derhen tilbage, med større Tilfredshed; og det saa mere, da De selv kan giøre saadan Betingelse, som Deres Fordeel forlanger. – Jeg er ogsaa overbeviist, at De vil faae her, foruden disse store Arbeider, saa mange andre Comissioner, især Portrait BüsterXII, at det vil beskiæftige Dem paa mange Aar i Rom. – Gud give, at jeg var i samme Fald, og at jeg kunde slipper med nogle Aars Ophold her, og gaae siden med slige Udsigter tilbage til RomXIII, hvorpaa jeg tænker Dag og Nat; men jeg frygter, at min Skiebne inte vil være saa blid, imidlertid opgiver jeg aldeeles inte dette søde Haab, men naar det vil blive opfyldt, maa Guderne vide. – Ogsaa i mange andre Henseender kan De vente et meget behagelig Ophold her, lad Dem derfor overtale til denne Reise, som ingen vist meer ønsker end jeg, for at kunde engang igien høre et godt RaadXIV over saa mange Arbeider, jeg har begyndt paa, denne Lykke savner jeg aldeeles her, jeg er gandske indskrænket paa mig selv, og De veed selv hvor ubehageligt det maae være mig.
Hvad mig ellers angaaer, saa kann jeg endnu inte sige Dem noget bestimt, om mine Planer og Udsigter for FremtidenXV, jeg er aggreertXVI af Akademiet, og har faaet en Opgave til MedlemsstykketXVII. Hvad Akademiet og Kunsten allers angaaer, saa siger [jeg] inte noget derom, De vil selv see det naar De kommer. Jeg lever bestandig i BrunsXVIII Huus, hvor jeg er optaget med sand Venskab og Godhed, hvilket bidrager meget, at giøre mig min Ophold her meer behagelig, end den ellers vilde have været. Frue Bruns DigtXIX, siger Dem bedre end jeg kan giøre det, hvor meget hun og saa mange her ønsker at have Dem i Kiøbenhavn paa nogen Tid, og disse Forventninger maa De rigtig opfylde.
Jeg havde nær glemt at tale Dem om MarmoretXX, som er da en Hovedting for Deres Arbeider, men siden De faaer ved Kh. SchubartXXI en Prøve deraf saa kan De selv dømme derom bedre end jeg; jeg troer det har inte de Giennemsigtig som den CarariskeXXII men Farven er smuk varm, og til collossale Statuer, troer jeg – er det meget godt.
Prinds ChristianXXIII, interesserer sig meget for AkademietXXIV og for Kunsten, De vil vist glæde Dem over at giøre hans Bekiendtskab, saavel som Etatsraads HansenXXV, hvis Talent som Architekt, vil sætte Dem i Forundring. Det er en Lykke at have at bestille med saadan interessante Mænd.
Che fa la nostra buona OrsolaXXVI ? Vi prego di salutarla tanto e tanto del suo LuigiXXVII; e ditele che non desidero altro che di avere la sorte di puotere ritornare a Roma e vivere con lei; che non si scordi di me, e che preghi il buon Dio che mi faccio godere questo piacere. CarolinaXXVIII sarà cresciuta e sarà buona come spero, salutatele tutte, vi prego. – Volesse il Cielo che rivedessi presto la Porta del Popolo. –
Kammerher Schubart har loft mig, at give den gode GamleXXIX nogen Understøttelse, og jeg behøver vel inte at bede Dem, De vilde forsikkre ham, hvor meget hun fortienner det, at nyde en liden Hielp, siden hun har pleiet saa mange af vores Landsmænd.
HoyerXXX har vist skreven Dem til, og saa veed De at han er kommen her tilbage: efter de sædvanlige Høflighedsvisiter vie har giort hinanden, har vie inte seet os mer; De veed paa hvilken Fod vi omgik hinanden i Rom. – StubXXXI er gift, har meget at bestille, og jeg troer han lever ret lykkelig, jeg seer ham tidt, Ogsaa BøhndelXXXII er her som Portraitmaler, og det gaar ham godt.
Jeg beder at hilse vores Landsmænd, og andre Venner i Rom. Frue HumboldtXXXIII skriver tidt til Frue Brun, af hinde hører jeg, at RauchXXXIV er endnu i Berlin; ogsaa mange Nyheder fra Rom erfarer vi somtider igiennem hende. – De har glemt at sende mig den fornødne Fuldmagt, til at tage imod Deres KobbereXXXV, men jeg haaber den vil inte være nødvendig, siden De komer selv. Lad mig see at jeg inte bedrager mig deri. Lev vel kiere Ven, og tænk somtider paa Deres hengivne

I L Lund

Frue Brun og IdaXXXVI hilser Dem venskabelig; Stub ligeledes. Vil De inte have den Godhed, at give IndlæggetXXXVII til EberleinXXXVIII, og hils MunkXXXIX fra mig, fald han endnu erindrer mig.

Oversættelse af dokument

Copenhagen, January 19th 1812

Dear friend,

I have not written to you for a long time, but you yourself know how difficult it is to carry out such intentions; but now I am serious, I grasp the pen and even if it will not be a long letter this time it shall at least be a couple of words to revive me in your memory.
Mr Kellermann, one of our countrymen who has been established in Leghorn for some time is going back to Italy these days, he will be so kind to take these lines with him and hand them in at the post in Leghorn, presumably he will himself go to Rome in spring and if Munk whose particular friend he is should have left Rome at that time I recommend him to you so that you can help him enjoy Rome in the best way.
The main purpose of these lines is my wish to be able to contribute to persuading you to a short visit here. So much I wish to see you here for some time it would be far too egotistical of me if I wished so merely for myself, but as I think it will be a great advantage to you if you make a journey to this place, then I can with a clear conscience tell you that you would not regret it if you could be induced to this. I know that Schubart, Lord of the Bedchamber, has the commission to suggest this to you and besides inform you on what conditions you are wanted here. As I know that a long time ago you have decided to pay Copenhagen a visit and as the important works waiting for you here certainly may be a good reason for this journey I hope that my expectation to see you here in spring will be fulfilled. You will surely be pleased to see Copenhagen embellished with such architectural buildings so beautifully and nobly designed and executed that I dare say that you won’t find the like of it in more recent architecture; and that is enough reason to hope that you also with pleasure will contribute by your works to the perfection og these splendid buildings. The many colossal statues for the Palace, the Town Hall and Court, and the Church of Our Lady besides so many other works are certainly objects which are worthy of your art: and I base my hope to see you soon here on this. As regards your interest I think you will be sure to find your reckoning at it, and when this unites with the thought of executing such important, colossal works, you will realize that it is well worth the while to leave Rome for some time, later to be able to return with greater satisfaction; and the more so as you yourself can make such a stipulation as your advantage demands. – I am also convinced that besides these great works you will here get so many other commissions especially for portrait busts that you will be occupied for many years in Rome. – If only I were in the same situation and could get off with a couple of years’ stay here and then go back to Rome with such prospects, which I am thinking of day and night; but I am afraid that my fate will not be so lenient, however I do not give up this sweet hope completely, but when it will be fulfilled only Heaven knows. – In many other respects you can also expect a very pleasant stay here, so allow yourself to be persuaded to this journey, which nobody wishes more than I do, to be able to listen to a piece of good advice about so many works I have begun, I miss this good fortune here, I am left completely alone here, and you know how unpleasant it must be to me.
As otherwise regards me, I cannot yet tell you anything definite about my plans and prospects for the future, I have been approved by the Academy and have been given a theme for the reception piece. Otherwise about the Academy and art I shall say nothing. You will see for yourself when you arrive. All the time I live in the house of the Bruns where I have been accepted with true friendship and good will, which helps much to make my stay here more comfortable than it would have been otherwise. Mrs Brun’s poem tells you better than I can , how much she and so many others here wish to have you in Copenhagen for some time, and you must fulfil these expectations.
I had almost forgotten to speak to you about the marble, which is a main thing for your works, but as you from Schubart, Lord of the Bedchamber, will receive a sample of it you can judge it better than I can; I do not think it has the transparency the one from Carrara has, but the colour is beautiful and warm, and for colossal statues I think it is rather good.
Prince Christian takes a great interest in the Academy and in art, you will certainly be pleased to make his acquaintance, as well as that of Hansen, titular Councillor of State, whose talent as an architect will make you wonder. It is a blessing to deal with such interesting men.
[The following passage in Italian has not been translated:]
Che fa la nostrabuona Orsola? Vi prego di salutarla tanto e tanto del suo Luigi; e ditele che non desidero altro che di avere la sorte di puotere ritornare a Roma a vivere con lei; che non si scordi di me, e che preghi il buon Dio che mi faccio godere questo piacere Carolina sarà cresciuta a sarà buona come spero, salutate tutte, vi prego. – Volesse il Cielo che rivedessi presto la Porta del Popolo. –
Schubart, Lord of the Bedchamber, has promised me to give the good old some support, and I need not ask you, you will assure him, how much she deserves to get a little help, as she has taken so good care of many of our countrymen. I think Høyer has written to you and then you know that he has returned here: after the usual formal calls we have made, we have not seen each other; You know on what terms we saw each other in Rome. – Stub has married and has much to do, I think he has a happy life, I often see him. Bøhndel is also here as a portrait painter, he prospers.
I beg you to give my regards to our countrymen and other friends in Rome. Mrs Humboldt often writes to Mrs Brun, from her I hear that Rauch is still in Berlin; and much news from Rome we often learn from her. – You have forgotten to send me the necessary authority to receive your copper engravings, but I hope it will not be necessary, when you come yourself. Let me see that I do not deceive myself in this. All the best and think sometimes of your faithful

I L Lund

Mrs Brun and Ida send their friendly regards; and also Stub. Would you be so kind as to give the enclosed letter to Eberlein, and give my regards to Munk, if he still remembers me.


[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

Lund’ letter is just one in a series of letters around 1811-1812, in which attempts are made to persuade Thorvaldsen to visit Denmark, cf. Requests to Come to Denmark (until 1819).

Archival Reference

m3 1812, nr. 5

Thiele

Ikke omtalt hos Thiele.

Subjects

Persons

Commentaries

  1. Probably letter dated presumably October 1810.

  2. Read about Thorvaldsen’s difficulties writing in the related article Thorvaldsen’s Spoken and Written Language.

  3. Kellermann has not been identified.

  4. The Norwegian painter Jacob Munch.

  5. Thorvaldsen had been in Rome since 1797. He had been formally permitted to stay there 6.3.1804, although, according to the charter of the Academy of Fine Arts, he was obliged to return to Denmark, cf. the “related article“:/artikler/thorvaldsens-forbliven-i-rom-1803-04 about this. Around 1811-12 people began to urge him to visit Denmark, cf. the subject Requests to Come to Denmark until 1819. Among other things, they wanted Thorvaldsen to decorate the many new buildings in Copenhagen: Christiansborg Palace, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, and the Town Hall and Courthouse.

  6. The Danish baron and diplomat Herman Schubart

  7. See Herman Schubart’s letter dated 28.2.1812 to Thorvaldsen.

  8. Thorvaldsen did not go to Copenhagen until seven years later, 14.7.1819.

  9. Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, which was rebuilt by the architect C.F. Hansen 1803-28 after the fire in 1794.

  10. The Town Hall and Courthouse in Copenhagen, which was built by the architect C.F. Hansen 1803-1815.

  11. The Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, which was burnt during the British bombardment in 1807, and which was rebuilt by the architect C.F. Hansen 1808-1829.

  12. Lund was right. When Thorvaldsen finally came to Copenhagen 1819-20, he received commissions for Christiansborg Palace, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, the “Town Hall and Courthouse:/artikler/bestillingen-til-raad-og-domhuset, and for several portrait busts, see e.g. A192, A193, A194, A199, A859.

  13. Lund lived in Rome 1802-1810. He returned in 1816 and left Rome 14.7.1819, accompanying Thorvaldsen back to Denmark.

  14. Thorvaldsen played an important role as mentor to other artists in Rome, cf. the subject Thorvaldsen as Mentor to Other Artists.

  15. Here Lund is referring to his professional situation. He had hoped to get the chair at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen which had fallen vacant on the death of the painter Nicolai Abildgaard. The position remained vacant for a long time, and he was not appointed professor until 1818, together with C.W. Eckersberg.

  16. I.e. approved as a fellow of the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen . After having been approved, one had to execute a reception piece, i.e. a work on a set theme that was then subject to a vote of approval.

  17. J.L. Lund was requested to execute a painting with a subject from Norse mythology. He was approved by the Fellows of the Academy of Fine Arts with the painting Habor’s Return from the Battle, 1813.

  18. The Danish author Friederike Brun.

  19. Friederike Brun’s poem has unfortunately been lost. It was enclosed in Herman Schubart’s letter dated 28.2.1812 to Thorvaldsen and is mentioned in letter dated 18.12.1811.

  20. White marble had been discovered in Bergen, Norway, and it was hoped that this could tempt Thorvaldsen to come to Copenhagen. However, it turned out to be quite difficult to get it to Copenhagen,
    cf. letter dated 6.2.1813.

  21. Herman Schubart brought the marble sample from his trip to Denmark 1811-1812, see also letter dated 28.2.1812.

  22. I.e. marble from Carrara, Italy.

  23. The later KIng Christian 8., who also wrote to Thorvaldsen, asking him to come home, cf. letter dated 20.12.1811.

  24. I.e. the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.

  25. The Danish architect C.F. Hansen, who was in charge of the building of Christiansborg Palace, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen and the Town Hall and Courthouse.

  26. The landlady Orsola Polverini Narlinghi in 141 Via Sistina, where Thorvaldsen had lived 1800-1804, see the related article Thorvaldsen’s Residences.

  27. I.e. Lund sends his warm regards.

  28. Orsola Polverini Narlinghi’s daughter?

  29. I.e. Orsola Polverini Narlinghi

  30. The Danish painter C.F. Høyer, who had lived in Rome until 1811, as appears below.

  31. The Danish painter C.G. Kratzenstein Stub.

  32. The Danish painter and lithographer Conrad Christian Bøhndel.

  33. The German patron of the arts and salonnière Caroline von Humboldt.

  34. The German sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch.

  35. I.e. the copperplate engravings which J.L. Lund was to get from Nicolai Abildgaard’s widow, cf. the related article Transportation of Thorvaldsen’s Artworks in 1798 and 1802.

  36. Dancer, attitude artist, and later countess Ida Brun.

  37. Cf. the related article On Letters and Writing.

  38. The German painter Johan Christian Eberlein.

  39. The Norwegian painter Jacob Munch.

Last updated 18.12.2017