The New Student's Reference Work/Thorwaldsen, Albert Bertel

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Thorwaldsen (tôr'wa̤ld-sĕn), Albert Bertel, one of the greatest of modern sculptors, was born probably at Copenhagen, Nov. 15, 1770. When, asked where he was born he said: “I don't know; but I arrived at Rome on March 8, 1797,” thus dating his birth, as it were, from the beginning of his career as an artist. He was a son of a poor ship-carpenter, and first carved figureheads in the shipyard where his father worked. He had little schooling, and always was a poor writer and speller, but by 1793 he had gained a gold medal for a design and with it a chance to study abroad for three years. Only after long and hard study did he at last (1803) gain recognition by his Jason, but from this time he prospered. His return to Denmark in 1819 was triumphal and his reception almost royal. But a year later found him back at Rome, which he made his home. Thorwaldsen died on March 24, 1844, leaving to his country most of his great works and the bulk of his fortune, with which to build a museum where they should be kept. Of his many busts that of Byron is one of the finest. His famous Christ and the Twelve Apostles is in the cathedral of Copenhagen. See his Life by Plon.