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Bertil Thorvaldsen

Born: Copenhagen, 13 November 1768
Died: Copenhagen, 24 March 1844
Nationality: Danish

Origins uncertain, perhaps son of wood-carver Gotskalk Thorvaldsen


Royal Danish Art Academy (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, 1779-1795) with sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt and painter Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard


1793 – wins Danish Academy’s gold medal for relief Apostles Peter and John Healing a Lame Man (Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen)

1808 – becomes member of Academy of Saint Luke, Rome

1819 – begins receiving commissions for civic monuments, including Lion of Lucerne

1824 – Papal commission for tomb of Pius VII

1837 – donates collection of contemporary and ancient art to city of Copenhagen

1848 – Thorvaldsen Museum opens (Gottlieb Bindesboll, architect)


Rome (1797-1819, 1820-38, 1841-2); travels widely in Italy, Germany, and Poland en route to and from Rome to Copenhagen (1819-20)

Commissions from: 

Danish Royal family; Ludwig I (King of Bavaria); Thomas Hope; cities of Lucerne, Warsaw, Munich and Rome

Important Artworks: 

Adonis, 1802-32 (Thorvaldsen Musem, Copenhagen)

Night and Day, 1815 (Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen)

George Gordon, Lord Byron, 1817 (Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen)

Lion of Lucerne, 1819 (Lucerne)

Christ and Twelve Apostles, 1821-42 (Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen)

Tomb of Pius VII, (1824-31, St Peter’s, Rome) 
Gutenberg Monument, 1835-7 (Mainz)

Works by Other Artists:

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg painted Thorvaldsen's portrait: Bertil Thorvaldsen, 1814 (Royal Danish Art Academy, Copenhagen)