Thorvaldsen, Bertel
Danish, 1770 - 1844

Biography

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. 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). 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. (Source: Oxford Art Online)

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