The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Four Drawings by Abildgaard

  • Bente Skovgaard,, 1989
  • This is a re-publication of the summary of the article: Bente Skovgaard: ‘Four Drawings by Abildgaard’, in: Meddelelser fra Thorvaldsens Museum (Communications from the Thorvaldsens Museum) p. 1989, p. 72-79.
    For a presentation of the article in its original appearance in Danish, please see this facsimile scan.
    For a presentation of this English summary in its original appearance, please see this facsimile scan.

Four privately-owned drawings by N.A. Abildgaard are presented. It is demonstrated that they have the same Swedish provenance as twenty-five drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and two in the Thorvaldsen Museum. They were probably owned by Abildgaard’s friend, the Swedish sculptor J.T. Sergel

1. The Abduction of Ganymede is compared with Thorvaldsen’s two studies for a relief with this motif, and the typology is discussed briefly. A sketched note with another composition from Abildgaard’s stay in Rome is identified as a copy of a fresco by Peruzzi in the Villa Farnesina.

2. Two studies for reclining sea gods, Gibraltar and Bosporus, is explained through Abildgaard’s inscription, which mentions Strabo as the source. Mention is made of the studies’ links with three over-doors painted by Abildgaard and a sketch for one of them.

3. A drawing of Ossian is compared with a version in the Department of Prints and Drawings, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and a painting in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.

4. An illustration for Comala in Ossian’s Poems is explained with a reference to the events and special tone in the poem. All four drawings must be dated to the 1780s.

Last updated 11.05.2017