Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern in Hørsholm

At Hørsholm cemetery stands a monument to the sculptor J. A. Jerichau, 1816-83, and his grandson, the painter Holger Jerichau, 1890-1916, (fig. 1). It is decorated with an antique relief which was previously interpreted as Seneca before Agrippina. The original was purchased in 1987 for the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The Latin inscription is a quotation from Seneca “The soul most easily reaches the heavenly path by quickly slipping the bonds of human contact.” The relief comes from J. A. Jerichau’s own collection of sculptures from antiquity which, inspired by Thorvaldsen’s preoccupation as a collector, took shape during his stay in Rome in the 1840s. It was originally the end piece of a Roman sarcophagus from the middle of the 3rd century (cf. figs. 2 and 3). The seated woman with a deer by her side is interpreted here as Artemis (cf. fig. 4), while the two standing male figures cannot be identified with certainty. Artemis is found in similar sarcophagi, at times together with Apollo and Hermes, at others with Hercules and heroes (cf. fig. 5). Their postures have a distant model in Lysippos’ Alexander the Great with a Lance (cf. fig. 6). The position of the fingers of the man on the right may suggest speech or be regarded as a gesture of healing or warding off evil (fig. 7). Thorvaldsen himself is seen with this gesture in Neubourg’s daguerreotype (p. 102, fig. 7).

Last updated 11.05.2017