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Summary Article: Thorvaldsen or Thorwaldsen, Albert Bertel
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(both: äl'bĕrt bĕr'təl tôr'välsən), 1770–1844, Danish sculptor, b. Copenhagen. In 1797 he went to Rome, where he shared with Canova the leadership of the neoclassicists. His adherence to Greek art is shown in his Jason (1802–3), one of his many classical subjects, rendered with an intellectual coolness and a respect for antique prototypes. For Prince Louis of Bavaria he made restorations of the ancient Aeginetan marbles. In 1819 he designed the famous Lion of Lucerne, carved from the native rock at Lucerne by his pupils—a memorial to the devotion of the Swiss Guard in the French Revolution. The works he executed for Copenhagen were chiefly the figural decorations for the Church of Our Lady, completed with the help of his numerous assistants. The Christ from this project is especially notable. Among Thorvaldsen's historical portrait sculptures are that of Pope Pius VII (St. Peter's, Rome) and Conradin, Last of the Hohenstaufen (Naples). The Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen, contains in originals and models a large group of the sculptor's work, together with his collection of antiquities, paintings, and books. Many of the American sculptors of the period studied with Thorvaldsen.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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