29.4.1823

Sender

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location

Rom

Recipient

Christian 8.

Recipient’s Location

København

Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift, da der er tale om et udkast.

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.

Abstract

Udkast til brev af 29.4.1823. Thorvaldsen meddeler nyt vedrørende busterne af Frederik 6., A859, Marie Sophie Frederikke, A192, Vilhelmine A194, Caroline, A193, Christian (8.) Frederik, jf. A753, Caroline Amalie, jf. A716, og Frederik (7.), A199. Desuden anbefaler han sin assistent Hermann Ernst Freund på det varmeste.

Document

Ds: K. Højhed Prinds Christian Frederik
Til Danmark
Rom den 29 April 1823


Forlængst burde jeg have bevidnet Deres Højhed min sande Taknemlighed for flere naadige Skrivelser og min hjærteligste Lykønskning til Deres og høje GemalindesI TilbagekomstII til Fædrenelandet – men jeg tør stole paa Deres Højheds overbærende Tilgivelse – De veed at jeg ikkun er en temmelig langsom og forsømmelig CorrespondentIII, og De er overbeviist, ogsaa uden Bevidnelse, om min underdanigste Hengivenhed for Dem selv, naadige Herre, og Deres Høje Familie.
Det glæder mig at erfare at det SkibIV som medbringer ModellerneV, som jeg i Kiøbenhavn forfærdigede, af den Kongelige Families Büster, omsider er ankommet til Napoli. De Bemærkninger som Ds Højhed anførte i et af Deres seneste Breve til BrøndstedVI og som han har meddelt mig, angaaende Prindsesse WilhelminesVII Byste, skal jeg ved Udførelsen omhyggelig beagte. – Jeg befinder mig vel og mine ArbejderVIII gaae godt fra Haanden. Et besynderligt TilfældeIX som nærved kunde blevet dødeligt, har ikke havt den mindste skadelige Indflydelse paa mit Helbred; ogsaa det Saar som Kuglen gav mig paa to Fingre af venstre Haand er nu lægt og jeg kan igjen bruge Haanden næsten som tilforn.
Mere end enhver anden Sag vilde jeg tage mig den Frihed at anbefale Ds Kongel: Højhed min kjære Ven og Medarbejder FreundsX Anliggende. Han har gjort saa betydelige Fremskridt i alle Dele af den svære KonstXI vi udøve, og er i det Hele et saa opvakt og fortreffeligt Menneske at jeg ikke gjør mere end min Pligt i det jeg paa det Hjerteligste anbefaler ham selv og hans udmærkede Talent til Deres Højheds naadigste Velvillie. Hans MercurXII er en meget smuk, en i alle Henseender vellykket Figur; Udførelsen af Deres Højheders Byster i MarmorXIII lykkedes ham til min fuldkomneste Tilfredshed, og den Figur han nu Arbejder paa[,] en af EvangelisterneXIV, lover at blive lige saa fortrinlig i sin Slag som Mercuren; denne sidste vilde jeg langt hellere anbefale til Udførelse i Marmor end den tidligere EurydiceXV, men det ligger i Sagens Natur at en saadan Figur ikke kan udføres i faa Maaneder og Ds Højhed vil sandelig ikke fortryde det hvis De forunder Freund den i et tidligere Brev ham lovede naadige Understyttelse af 30 Scudi maanedlig i halvandet Aar; ogsaa maatte det tillades mig at bemærke at ingen Billedhugger letteligen vilde kunne fuldende to Byster til den Grad af Udførelse, som Freunds Marmorarbejde af Ds Højheders PortraiterXVI, til ringere Priis end 50 Louisd’orerXVII Stykket. For én Byste udført af mig selv for en Fremmet lader jeg mig stedse betale 100 Louisd’orXVIII. – Jeg anfører dette baade med Hensyn paa Ds Højheds egne tidligere Opmuntringer til Freund og paa dette fortreffelige Menneskes grundede Forventninger der ikke kan være heldigere. Hans SkizzerXIX til Forestillinger af den nordiske MythologieXX ere ligeledes højst interessante og jeg lover mig af dem noget meget ypperligt til Prydelse for vort FædrelandXXI og til Forøgelse af dets Konstbesiddelser.
Min underdanigste Hilsen bedes formeldt Deres høje Gemalinde. Med de allerbedste Ønsker for Dem selv og høje Familie er jeg stedse, naadige Herre, Deres underdanigst hengivne Tjener Th.

Oversættelse af dokument

Yr. R. Highness Prince Christian Frederik
To Denmark
Rome, April 29th 1823


Long ago I should have expressed to Your Highness my true gratitude for several gracious favours as well as my heartfelt congratulations on your and your high consort’s return to the native land – but I dare count on Your Highness’ tolerant forgiveness – you know that I am but a rather slow and negligent correspondent, and event without expression, you are convinced of my most humble devotion to yourself, gracious Sir, and your high family.
I am pleased to learn that the ship carrying the models, which I executed in Copenhagen of the busts of the royal family eventually has arrived at Naples. At the execution I shall pay careful attention to the comments which Yr. Highness gave in one of your latest letters to Brøndsted and which he has told me regarding princess Vilhelmine’s bust. – I am well and my works get on well from my hands. A strange incidence which nearly might have been fatal, has not had the least harmful influence on my health, even the wound has healed which the bullet gave me on two fingers of my left hand and I can use the hand again almost as before.
More than in any other case I should take the liberty to recommend to Yr. Royal Highness my dear friend and assistant Freund’s matters. He has made considerable progress in all parts of the difficult art we carry out, and on the whole he is so bright and excellent a person that I merely do my duty when I most sincerely recommend him and his superior talent to the most gracious favour of Your Highness. His Mercury is a very beautiful, an in all respects good figure; the execution of your highnesses’ busts in marble was successful to my full satisfaction, and the figure he is now working at, one of the evangelists, promises to become just as perfect of its kind as the Mercury; this latter I should rather more recommend to be executed in marble than the former Eurydice, but it is natural that such a figure cannot be executed in a few months and Yr. Highness shall certainly not regret it, if you grant Freund the gracious support of 30 Scudi monthly for 18 months, which was promised to him in an earlier letter; may I furthermore say that no sculptor would easily be able to finish two busts to the degree of accomplishment as Freund’s work in marble of your highnesses’ portraits, at a lower price than 50 Louisd’or each. For one bust executed by myself for a stranger I am always paid 100 Louisd’or. – I mention this with regard to Yr. Highness’ own earlier encouragements to Freund and to his excellent person’s well-founded expectations which cannot be more fortunate. His sketches for presentations of the Norse mythology are likewise rather interesting and I promise myself of them something very admirable to adorn our native land and to increase its possessions of art.
I ask my most humble regards conveyed to your high consort. With the very best wishes for yourself and the high family I am forever, gracious Sir, Your most humbly faithful servant, Th.


[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

Dette er et udkast til brev af 29.4.1823. Til forskel fra det afsendte brev rummer dette udkast flere detaljer vedr. bl.a. konkrete priser på værker og en længere passage, der uddyber Thorvaldsens anbefaling af Freund.
Som det fremgår benytter dette udkast tiltaleformen Deres Højhed, der i det afsendte brev blev erstattet af det mere formelle Deres Kongelige Højhed.

Document Type

Udkast af koncipist

Amanuensis

P.O. Brøndsted

Archival Reference

m28, nr. 66

Thiele

Gengivet hos Thiele III, p. 172-174.

Subjects

Persons

Works

A194 Vilhelmine Marie, Tidligst 12.11.1819 - Senest 8.1.1820, inv.nr. A194
A859 Frederik 6., 1823 - Senest 10.5.1825, inv.nr. A859
A199 Frederik (7.), Antagelig januar 1819 - Antagelig februar 1820, inv.nr. A199
A192 Marie Sophie Frederikke, Tidligst 12.11.1819 - Senest 8.1.1820, inv.nr. A192
A193 Caroline, Tidligst 12.11.1819 - Senest 8.1.1820, inv.nr. A193
A753 Christian (8.) Frederik, Antagelig 7.1.1821 - Antagelig 13.1.1821, inv.nr. A753
A716 Caroline Amalie, 28.12.1820 - 30.12.1820, inv.nr. A716

Commentaries

  1. I.e. Caroline Amalie.

  2. The royal couple had been on a long journey abroad, having stayed in Rome in 1821 and attended the unveiling of Thorvaldsen’s monument in Lucerne Dying Lion (The Lucerne Lion), cf. 119, 10.8.1821.

  3. Thorvaldsen was notoriously slow in answering letters. This was partly due to the fact that he was dyslexic, and that it was therefore difficult for him to write quickly and correctly. For more on this, see the related articles about Thorvaldsen’s Spoken and Written Language and about Thorvaldsen’s Letter Writing Process.

  4. This is probably the ship that is mentioned in the letter dated 6.5.1823 from the merchant E.H. Fleischer to Thorvaldsen: : a Danish brig, called Ploug, has arrived here from Copenhagen, commanded by skipper M Hansen, carrying 3 crates with plaster figures for you.

  5. I.e. plaster casts of the clay busts that Thorvaldsen had executed of King
    Frederik 6. and his family during his sojourn in Denmark 18191820. Thorvaldsen was to use these so-called original models to carve the busts in marble, and therefore they were sent to him in Rome. The busts of the royal family were: King Frederik 6., A859, Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke, A192, Princess Vilhelmine, A194, Princess Caroline, A193 and Christian (8.) Frederik’s son Prince Frederik (7.), A199.

  6. I.e. Thorvaldsen’s friend and the copyist of the letter, the Danish archaeologist P.O. Brøndsted.

  7. I.e. Frederik 6.’s daughter Princess Vilhelmine, cf. A194.

  8. For a survey of Thorvaldsen’s works in 1823, see the Thorvaldsen-chronology

  9. Thorvaldsen is here referring to an accidental shooting 23.3.1823 in his home, where one of his landlord’s sons, 6-year-old Cesare Buti, accidentally fired a loaded pistol. The bullet grazed the sculptor, but the wound was apparently superficial. A very full account of the episode is found in Thiele III, p. 169-172. In spite of its generally undramatic tone, Thorvaldsen’s account also has a touch of miraculous survival about it. He tells the story as if the actual sequence of events were known to the Crown Prince in advance, which it may have been, although the short time since the event seems to indicate the opposite.

  10. I.e. the Danish-German sculptor and Thorvaldsen’s assistant Hermann Ernst Freund.

  11. I.e. sculpture.

  12. Hermann Ernst Freund’s Mercury, plaster model, 1821, Statens Museum for Kunst, inv.nr. KMS5001.

  13. I.e. the carving in marble of the busts of Christian (8.) Frederik, cf. A753, and his spouse Caroline Amalie, cf. A716. They had been modelled by Thorvaldsen during the royal couple’s stay in Rome in 1821 but were executed by Freund under Thorvaldsen’s supervision. For more about the working practice in Thorvaldsen’s workshops, see the related article on Thorvaldsen’s Workshop Practice.

  14. I.e. Freund’s statue of Luke the Evangelist, the original model of which was finished in 1823. It is now in Christiansborg Palace Chapel. Before his departure for Rome in 1817, Freund had received the commission for the statues of all 12 apostles for the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen. To Freund’s great disappointment, however, the task was given to Thorvaldsen during his sojourn in Denmark 18191820. For more about this, see the related article on the Commission for the Church of Our Lady.

  15. Freund’s first statue of Eurydice was finished in clay in 1815 and was shown at the Charlottenborg exhibition the same year. It attracted a lot of attention, and Prince Christian (8.) Frederik wanted to have it cast in plaster so that it could be preserved. Before this could be done, however, the statue collapsed. In 1820, Freund was working on another Eurydice later to be carved in marble, commissioned by the same prince. No trace of this statue exists today, and the second Eurydice was probably never executed in marble, cf. H.R. Baumann: Hermann Ernst Freunds Levned ved Victor Freund, Copenhagen 1883, p. 10-12, 75, 292 and 293.

  16. I.e. the above-mentioned busts of Christian (8.) Frederik, cf. A753, and his wife Caroline Amalie, cf. A716.

  17. Regarding this, see the related article on Monetary Units.

  18. For more about prices of Thorvaldsen’s works, see the related article on Thorvaldsen’s Works, Prices.

  19. In 1821-1822, Freund modelled a number of figures and subjects from Norse mythology. According to H.R. Baumann: Hermann Ernst Freunds Levned ved Victor Freund, Copenhagen 1883, p. 293, there were twelve in all, among them Odin, Freja, Thor, Balder, Ydun, Loke and the relief Mimer and Balder Consulting the Norns (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, inv. nr. MIN 0319.) The figures were executed in clay and fired. They have all been lost, and only plaster casts of the following are known today: Odin (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, inv. nr. MIN 0295), Loke (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, inv. nr. MIN 0294) and the relief Mimer and Balder Consulting the Norns (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, inv. nr. MIN 0319).
    The German painter Dietrich Wilhelm Lindau made drawings of the figures, and these drawings were Freund’s contribution to the competition initiated by Jonas Collin for the promotion of Norse mythology (and Freund). Freund was awarded the first prize. See the related article Norse Mythology for more about the competition and Norse mythology as a subject for the visual arts.

  20. This commendatory passage about Freund’s works of Norse mythology has, surprisingly enough, been deleted from the final letter, which, unlike this draft, is written by Thorvaldsen himself. See the related article Norse Mythology for more about Thorvaldsen’s attitude to Norse mythology as a subject for the visual arts.

  21. Freund hoped in vain that these models would be commissioned in large size for the niches by the front stairs of Christiansborg Palace. He had been promised commissions for several works for the palace as replacement for the apostles, already begun, for the Church of Our Lady that had been assigned to Thorvaldsen. In the end he only executed his Ragnarok Frieze (1826-1840), completed after Freund’s death by H.W. Bissen in 1841, and one apostle (Luke, cf. note above), which C.F. Hansen neglected to place in the Palace Chapel. See the related article on the Commission for the Church of Our Lady for more about this.

Last updated 31.10.2016