Thorvaldsens Museum opened in central Copenhagen in 1848. The great Danish sculptor had arranged to donate his own works of art and his collections to the city, provided that the museum be built for the purpose; it would become his tomb. The Museum was decorated with a colourful frieze depicting the triumphant arrival of Thorvaldsen and his magnificent works of art in Copenhagen from the artist’s studio in Rome. The dramatic frieze, designed by the Danish artist Jørgen Sonne, made a big splash at the time, and has captivated visitors ever since. In this learned and lively study of the Museum and its frieze, John Henderson shows how the frieze takes inspiration from classical models, including the Parthenon and Roman monuments, in delivering the finest neoclassical art, and its cosmopolitan European culture, to the attention of a newly modernized public.
This beautifully illustrated book breaks new ground in Danish History of Art, bringing an important and unique Danish work of art to an international audience with the blessing of the Museum.
John Henderson is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of King's College.