The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on Jason and the Hope Commission

Albano, in the mountains just 25 km southeast of Rome, was a favorite refuge of well-to-do Romans in the warm summer months. The Roman air was regarded as decidedly unsafe—for another example of this, see, e.g., the letter from Stanley dated Steptember 27, 1803. This bad air, called aria cattiva in Italian, is also mentioned by Thiele at Thiele I, p. 109, and II, p. 29, as a problem that Thorvaldsen solved by leaving Rome in the summer months.
This phenomenon is described by the author Karl Viktor von Bonstetten in Reise in die klassichen Gegenden Roms, zur Schilderung ihres ehemaligen und gegenwärtigen Zustandes, vol. 2, Leipzig 1805, pp. 7-11, as cattiva aria. Concerning the area in Rome when Thorvaldsen lived and worked, Bonstetten writes as follows: Im Jahr 1775 hielt man die Höhen von Trinita del monte frey von dem Einfluss der ungesunden Luft; im Jahr 1802 nicht mehr. The general assumption was that the unhealthy air was due to warm winds from the Pontine Marshes, which brought a larger number of malaria-bearing mosquitoes with them.

Last updated 21.12.2014