The Thorvaldsen Museum is a single-artist museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, dedicated to the art of Danish and Icelandic Neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844), who lived and worked in Rome for most of his life (1796–1838). The museum is located on the small island of Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen next to Christiansborg Palace. Designed by Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll, the building was constructed from 1838 to 1848 following a public collection of funds in 1837.
The idea of a Bertel Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen emerged in the mid-1830s. A committee was in December 1836 set up at the initiative of Hans Puggaard. Its members included Joakim Frederik Schouw, Henrik Nicolai Clausen, Niels Laurits Høyen, Hermann Ernst Freund, Jonas Collin and Just Mathias Thiele. On 10 January 1837, it launched a nation-wide fund raising campaign. The following 15 men were elected as board members on a General Assembly held on 21 June 1837: H.N. Clausen (190 votes), Just Mathias Thiele (189 votes), Jonas Collin (185 votes), N.L. Høyen (183 votes), Hermann Ernst Freund (179 votes), J.F. Schouw (165 votes), Gustav Friedrich Hetsch (138 votes), Herman Wilhelm Bissen (112 votes), Søren Ludvig Tuxen (86 votes), Peder Brønnum Scavenius (83 votes), Heinrich Gamst (82 votes), Hans Puggaard (76 votes), Friederich Ernst von Prangen (76 votes), Christian Jürgensen Thomsen (67 votes) and Jørgen Hansen Koch (66 votes). In addition, Joseph Hambro, Carl Moltke (60 votes), J.H. Lund or J.L. Lund (46 votes), Hans Christian Ørsted (44 votes), Heinrich Reventlow-Criminil (39 votes) were elected as alternates.
The building is strongly inspired by antique Greek architecture and built around an inner courtyard where the artist is buried. The courtyard is notable for being painted in Egyptian motifs: tall date palms; lions and crocodile prowl among exotic birds and plants.The Egyptian influence on the exterior is more chaste. Here, enormous doors in severe trapezoidal style define the architect's intentions to pay homage at once to Attic Greek, Pompeiian and Egyptian style. It is noteworthy for its unique use of colors both inside and outside. Every room in the museum has a unique ceiling decoration in the grotesque style. The outside is adorned with a frieze depicting Thorvaldsen's homecoming from Rome in 1838, made by Jørgen Sonne.
The museum displays a comprehensive collection of the artist's works in marble as well as plaster, including the original plaster models used in the making of cast bronze and marble statues and reliefs, which are now on display in museums, churches, and at other locations around the world. The museum also features paintings, Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiques, drawings, and prints that Thorvaldsen collected during his lifetime, as well as a wide array of personal belongings that he used in his work and everyday life.
Thorvaldsens Museum is used as a location in the following films:
Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen was a Danish and Icelandic sculptor and medalist of international fame, who spent most of his life (1797–1838) in Italy. Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen into a working-class Danish/Icelandic family, and was accepted to the Royal Danish Academy of Art at the age of eleven. Working part-time with his father, who was a wood carver, Thorvaldsen won many honors and medals at the academy. He was awarded a stipend to travel to Rome and continue his education.
Christen Schiellerup Købke was a Danish painter, and one of the best known artists from the Golden Age of Danish Painting.
Martinus Christian Wesseltoft Rørbye was a Danish painter, known both for genre works and landscapes. He was a central figure of the Golden Age of Danish painting during the first half of the 19th century.
Peter Christian Thamsen Skovgaard was a Danish national romantic landscape painter. He is one of the main figures associated with the Golden Age of Danish Painting. He is especially known for his large scale portrayals of the Danish landscape.
The Danish Golden Age covers a period of exceptional creative production in Denmark, especially during the first half of the 19th century. Although Copenhagen had suffered from fires, bombardment and national bankruptcy, the arts took on a new period of creativity catalysed by Romanticism from Germany. The period is probably most commonly associated with the Golden Age of Danish Painting from 1800 to around 1850 which encompasses the work of Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg and his students, including Wilhelm Bendz, Christen Købke, Martinus Rørbye, Constantin Hansen and Wilhelm Marstrand, as well as the sculpture of Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Ditlev Conrad Blunck was a Danish-German painter associated with the Danish Golden Age during the first half of the 19th century.
Christian Albrecht Jensen was a Danish portrait painter who was active during the Golden Age of Danish Painting in the first half of the 19th century. Painting more than 400 portraits over the course of his career, he depicted most of the leading figures of the Danish Golden Age, including the writer Hans Christian Andersen, the painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, the physicist Hans Christian Ørsted and the theologian N. F. S. Grundtvig.
Joakim Frederik Schouw was a Danish lawyer, botanist and politician. From 1821, professor in botany at the University of Copenhagen — first extraordinary professor, but after the death of J.W. Hornemann in 1841 ordinary. His main scientific field was the new discipline of phytogeography. He also served as director of Copenhagen Botanical Garden in 1841-1852. He was a leading figure in the National Liberal movement and president of the Danish Constituent Assembly in 1848.
Emil Jens Baumann Adolf Jerichau was a Danish sculptor. He belonged to the generation immediately after Bertel Thorvaldsen, for whom he worked briefly in Rome, but gradually moved away from the static Neoclassicism he inherited from him and towards a more dynamic and realistic style. He was a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and its director from 1857 to 1863.
Jørgen Hansen Koch was a Neoclassical Danish architect. He was chief of the national Danish building administration from 1835 and director of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1844 to 1849.
Just Mathias Thiele was a Danish scholar and librarian. A central personage during the Danish Golden Age, he contributed to Danish cultural life in a number of capacities. He collected and published Danish folk tales with inspiration from the Brothers Grimm and founded the Royal Print Collection, today part of the Danish National Gallery. After the death of Bertel Thorvaldsen, he saved his archives and other papers and based on them he wrote his first biography.
Danish sculpture as a nationally recognized art form can be traced back to 1752 when Jacques Saly was commissioned to execute a statue of King Frederick V of Denmark on horseback. While Bertel Thorvaldsen was undoubtedly the country's most prominent contributor, many other players have produced fine work, especially in the areas of Neoclassicism, Realism, and in Historicism, the latter resulting from growing consciousness of a national identity. More recently, Danish sculpture has been inspired by European trends, especially those from Paris, including Surrealism and Modernism.
Hermann Ernst Freund was a German-born Danish sculptor. He is remembered in particular for his figures from Nordic mythology and for the Ragnarok Frieze.
Bertel Christian Budtz Müller was a pioneering Danish photographer. He operated the photographic studio Budtz Müller & Co. at Bredgade 21 in Copenhagen and was appointed as court photographer in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The statue of Frederick VI greets visitors just inside the main entrance to Frederiksberg Park at Frederiksberg Runddel in the Frederiksberg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. The bronze statue was created by Herman Wilhelm Bissen and is considered one of his best works. It was unveiled on 10 September 1858.
Jørgen Balthasar Dalhoff was a Danish goldsmith and industrialist.
Adelgunde Vogt was a Danish sculptor. She was the first female sculptor in Denmark. She is most known for her sculptures of animals in ivory and bronze, but she also made portrait busts.
Bolette Cathrine Frederikke Puggaard née Hage (1798–1847) was a landscape painter of the Danish Golden Age, one of very few 19th-century Danish women whose art extended beyond flower paintings. She and her husband, the merchant and shipowner Hans Puggaard, are remembered for their philanthropic activities as well as supporting many of the painters of the Danish Golden Age.
Carl Edvard Sonne was a Danish printmaker. His work consisted exclusively of reproductions of works by other artists, especially genre paintings, which reached a large audience through Kunstforeningen. He was the brother of painter Jørgen Sonne.
HDMS Rota was a frigate of the Royal Danish Navy. She is above all remembered for being the ship that, in 1838, picked up the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and many of his artworks in Livorno and brought them back to Denmark. Hans Dahlerup, her captain, and Alexander Wilde, then a junior lieutenant, have both described the voyage in their memoirs. In 1863, Rota was sold to H. Puggaard & Co. and converted into a civilian merchant ship. She wrecked off the coast of southern Norway in 1892, some ten years after being sold to Paul Larsen, Arendal.