The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on 25.2.1804

Thorvaldsen here points to what in 1803-04 was one of the most important arguments for his continuance in Italy, i.e. that it was cheaper to make marble sculptures in Rome, where, unlike in Copenhagen, there were professional marble carvers who could assist the sculptor in his work.
Thorvaldsen put forward the same argument to C.F. Hansen in his letter dated after 15.6.1807: It was not “the materials but the work of the artist that makes a work of art expensive … therefore here in Rome where there is no want of good workers [the] artist usually models the figure in its full size and as executed as possible so that the execution in marble mostly can be rather mechanical…”
In other words: It was cheaper for Thorvaldsen to delegate “most” of the marble carving to others instead of doing it himself.
Regarding the arguments for Thorvaldsen’s continuance in Rome at this time, see the “related article”:/artikler/thorvaldsens-forbliven-i-rom-1803-04.

Last updated 21.04.2015