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date: 16 October 2019

Thorvaldsen [Thorwaldsen], Bertellocked

(b Copenhagen, Nov 13, 1768 or Nov 19, 1770; d Copenhagen, March 24, 1844).
  • Bjarne Jørnæs

Extract

(b Copenhagen, Nov 13, 1768 or Nov 19, 1770; d Copenhagen, March 24, 1844).

Danish sculptor and collector, active in Italy. He spent most of his working life in Rome, where, after the death of Antonio Canova in 1822, he became the foremost Neo-classical sculptor. Although the heroic quality of his early Roman work was later modified by certain naturalistic features, he never abandoned his fundamental, classicizing ideals (see fig.). His pan-European reputation led to commissions from public and private patrons in many countries, and in order to supply these he ran a large and well-organized studio. His collection of contemporary paintings was probably the finest in 19th-century Rome and, together with many of his sculptures, is now housed in the Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen (opened 1848). (Unless otherwise stated, the models and versions of the works mentioned in this entry are there.) In the decades after his death, the taste for Neo-classicism, and thus his reputation, declined, and it was not until the mid-20th century that his art was re-evaluated....

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