Thorwaldsen, Albert Bertel

Thorwaldsen, Albert Bertel the renowned Danish sculptor, was born at Copenhagen, Nov. 19, 1770, and was the son of Gottschalk Thorwaldsen, a native of Iceland. A tradition had long been preserved in his family that "the gods had promised Harold (king Harold Hildetand, who was killed in the battle of Bravalla, in 735) a descendant whose fame should spread from the extremities of the North even to the sunny regions of the South." He assisted his father (a carver in wood) at a very early age, and when eleven years old attended the free school of the Academy of Arts, Copenhagen, receiving when seventeen a silver medal from the academy for a bas-relief of Cupid Reposing, and at twenty the small gold medal for a sketch of Heliodorus Driven from the Temple. Two years later he drew the grand prize entitling him to the royal pension, but, this being then enjoyed by another, he was obliged to wait three years, during which time he continued his professional pursuits and engaged in general study. Thorwaldsen set out for Italy May 20, 1796, arrived at Naples in January, 1797, and reached Rome March 8. After struggling against many discouragements, success waited upon him; his fame spread far and wide; and Christian (then crown- prince) of Denmark wrote him a pressing invitation to return to Copenhagen, telling him of the discovery of a white marble quarry in Norway in July, 1819, he started to make his first visit to his native land, and arrived at Copenhagen Oct. 3. He was entertained with public feasts and other expressions of gratitude for about a year, and then returned to Rome. There he remained until 1838, when he decided to return to Copenhagen, and the Danish government sent a frigate to convey him and his works to Denmark. In 1841, finding the climate to disagree with him, he felt compelled to return to Italy, but returned to Denmark in the following year. He died suddenly, March 24, 1844. The favorite style of Thorwaldsen was basso-rilievo, in which he was the greatest master of his age. His principal works are, Christ and the Twelve Apostles : — Procession to Golgotha: —John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness, in the Church of Notre Dame, Copenhagen: —Entry into Jerusalem: — Rebecca at the Well. See English Cyclop. of Biog. s.v.: —Spooner, Biog. Hist. of Fine Arts, s.v.

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