The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on History of the Archives

Th. Oppermann writes directly on this assumption in 1927: ”Although she [Anna Maria Uhden] had been in possession of a highly cultured personality, although she had been self-sacrificing and forgetful of herself, their common happiness would have come to grief because, like all great artists, Thorvaldsen was a sheer egoist in his relationships with women. This artistic egoism has with great skill been portrayed by the authors Bourget, d’Houville, Duvernois and Benoit in “le roman des quatre”. The main character in the story, a famous painter, writes that ‘we artists who are of any standing all resemble each other in an unparalleled egoism – . Our task captivates us, and we live and sense only in our carrying it out – . The artist thinks he loves his wife, and so he probably does – - but boorishly and brutally. She is merely recreation and rest to someone in whose great joys and great sufferings she has no part, for she neither can nor dares to approach them.” Th. Oppermann: Thorvaldsen, Mandomsårene i Rom 1797-1819, Copenhagen 1927, pp. 75-76. Oppermann thus contributes to the myth about the artist’s egoism, which is a clear token of nobility reserved for great geniuses.

Last updated 07.01.2009