Comment on 4.2.1809
Thorvaldsen had benefitted from the Schimmelmanns’ approval and favour before: In a letter of 26.7.1805, Herman Schubart told Thorvaldsen that the countess was probably partly responsible for Thorvaldsen’s appointment as professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1805. On 31.12.1806, Thorvaldsen had also received a commission from C.F. Hansen for four reliefs for the façade of Christiansborg Palace, which was being rebuilt during these years after the fire in 1794. On 22.4.1809 – i.e. after Thorvaldsen’s letter to Countess Schimmelmann had arrived in Copenhagen – the Building Commission for Christiansborg further requested offers for four statues for the façade. Thorvaldsen’s partial gift to the influential family has probably had the effect that the building commission for Christiansborg made inquiries about the four statues besides the reliefs; for more about this, see the related article about Thorvaldsen’s works for Christiansborg.
This assumption is supported by Countess Schimmelmann’s own words in a letter to Herman Schubart, which were reported to Thorvaldsen in Schubart’s letter of 26.12.1808: “My husband and I rightly recognize his noble gesture towards us. Count Christian Reventlow assured me yesterday that they are using him and are going to use him even more for our reborn palace [i.e. Christiansborg Palace]. He will be given great statues to execute, bas-reliefs and more; and you, my dear brother, may rely on Reventlow’s enthusiasm for your friend Thorwaldsen, in whom Hansen also takes a great interest. This artist certainly deserves the gratitude of his country [...]”.
Last updated 27.10.2015