Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location



Kunstakademiet, København

Recipient’s Location


Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.
Tilskrift: Til Det Kongelige Maler Billedhugger og Bygnings Academie

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.


Thorvaldsen reports to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts that he arrived in Rome on March 8, 1797. He was not in time to see all the statues in the Vatican which were taken away by the French.


Underdanigst Pro MemoriaI

Jeg giver mig herved den Ære at meldeII det Kongelige Academie for Kunsterne: at ieg kom fra Neapel til Rom den 8 MartiusIII hvor di alt havde begynt at enpakke statuerneIV, saa jeg ikke fik dem alle at see føren de kom bort. ieg er nu kent med de ypperlige Kunstverker som er til bage, og Arbejder, og saaledet at giøre mit ophold her saa nyttig som muelig
Rom d 19 August

Oversættelse af dokument

Most humble Pro Memoria.

Hereby I have the honour of informing the Academy of Fine Arts: that I came from Naples to Rome on March 8th when they already had begun to pack up the statues so that I did not see all of them before they were sent away. I am now familiar with the excellent works of art which are left, and I work so I can make my stay here as useful as possible.
Rome, August 19th
Most humbly,
B. Thorvaldsen

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

Regarding receipt of this letter, the journal of the Academy of Fine Arts (The Danish National Archives, Rigsarkivet, Kunstakademiets arkiv, Akademiforsamlingen) reads: “From the student and sculptor Thorvaldsen a letter has arrived in which he informs the Academy that he has left Naples and arrived in Rome on March 8 this year.”

Document Type

Færdigt egenhændigt dokument

Archival Reference

Rigsarkivet, Kunstakademiets arkiv, Akademiforsamlingen, journalsager, 1797, nr. 13.


Gengivet hos Thiele I, p. 119.



  1. Latin for “in remembrance”, used to recall oneself to somebody. The expression was originally a polite introduction in letters to persons of a higher rank, often civil servants. Gradually it was also used more generally in letters to or from officials, often written in one word. The expression appears frequently in the more formal letters in the Archive.

  2. According to his instructions of 23.8.1796, Thorvaldsen was to report on his place of sojourn every six months. The previous report, dated 13.2.1797 was sent from Naples.

  3. Later Thorvaldsen called the day of his arrival in Rome his Roman birthday. This letter documents the date, see also Thorvaldsen-chronology.

  4. Thorvaldsen refers to the packing of statues in the Vatican. In the Peace of Tolentino 19.2.1797 the Pope, besides considerable territorial cessions and large sums of money, had to hand over hundreds of the most famous artsworks and valuable manuscripts to the French. The majority was returned after the Treaty of Vienna 1815.
    The French had already begun the selection of the artworks which were to be taken away in November 1796, see Wilhelm von Uhden’s report of 12.11.1796 in: Der neue Teutsche Merkur, 1797, vol. 1, p. 55-57. Uhden’s report of 12.5.1797 shows that the majority of the works had been taken away at this time , see Der neue Teutsche Merkur, 1797, vol. 2, p. 274-275.
    The antique sculptures which were sent to Paris were incorporated in Les monumens antiiques du Musée Napoléon, dessinés et graves par Thomas Piroli, avec une explication par J.G. Schweighaueser, publiés par F. et P. Piranesi, Frères, vol. I-IV, Paris 1804-06 (copy in Thorvaldsens Museum, M140).
    See also Thiele I, p. 105.

Last updated 17.07.2017