Thorvaldsen: Collector of Plaster Casts from Antiquity and the Early Modern Period
The Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) was recognized in all of Europa as one of the leading artists of the time. He lived in Rome from 1797-1838, where he built a comprehensive collection of plaster casts, mainly after antique sculpture. The collection is unique because of its importance as a database of shapes and motives for one of Denmark's most important artists, but also because of its good condition. The collection is therefore a valuable source when we want to understand the trade and distribution of casts in the first half of the 19th century - not just in a Danish context, but an international one too.
In Thorvaldsen and his Plaster Casts, Ph.D and former director of Den Kgl. Afstobningssamling (the Royal Cast Collection), Jan Zahle, presents a complete mapping and reevaluation of Thorvaldsens Museum's cast collection. With Zahle's research of the collection, the Roman market for casts and their importance for Thorvaldsen's art, a completely new base has been created for studying cast collections. The publication also presents a rich, and in some cases previously unknown, collection of sources from archives in Denmark and other countries and from the digital archives of the museum.