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A History of Art for Beginners and Students

Louis was collecting objects for his Glyptothek at Munich


It

was at this period that the young Prince Louis of Bavaria entered into a correspondence with Thorwaldsen, which ended only with the sculptor's life. Louis was collecting objects for his Glyptothek at Munich, and he frequently consulted Thorwaldsen in these matters; his advice was of value, and he more than once saved Louis from imposition by dealers. Louis gave the sculptor the order for the fine Adonis, now in the Glyptothek; it was modelled in 1808, but was not completed until 1832; this splendid work was executed entirely by Thorwaldsen's own hands. In 1808 he also received the order for four bas-reliefs to be used in the restoration of the Palace of Christiansborg, which had been injured by fire. This was the year, too, when he was made an honorary member of the Academy of St. Luke.

The year 1809 brought deep sorrows to Thorwaldsen in the death of his two friends, Stanley and Zoega. He interested himself in the settlement of the affairs of the latter, and had much trouble and anxiety; but he managed to accomplish the modelling of six bas-reliefs in this year, in spite of the disturbed state of Rome on account of the pope's departure, and in spite of the hindrances in his own life.

In 1810 the King of Denmark made Thorwaldsen a Knight of Danebrog, and he was then known in Italy as the _Cavaliere Alberto_. His work this year was in bas-reliefs, and in 1811 he modelled a colossal statue of Mars, the bust of

Mademoiselle Ida Brun, a lovely statue of Psyche, and his own portrait as a colossal Hermes.

The people of Denmark were growing very impatient at the prolonged absence of their artist. He had left home a mere boy, and was now famous over all the world. They wished for his return; a marble quarry had been discovered in Norway, and even Prince Christian Frederick wrote to Thorwaldsen to urge his going home. The sculptor wished to go, and even made some preparations to do so, when he received so important a commission that it was impossible to leave Rome. This new work was a frieze for one of the great halls in the Quirinal Palace. He chose the Entrance of Alexander the Great into Babylon for his subject, and it proved to be one of the most important works of his life. It was completed in June, 1812; and though it had been somewhat criticised as too rough in its finish, when it was elevated to its proper height it was all that had been expected by the artist's friends; later he repeated this frieze for his own countrymen. In Rome he was now frequently called the "Patriarch of Bas-relief." Soon after this he was made a member of the Imperial Academy of Vienna.

In 1813 Thorwaldsen was again a victim of malignant fever, and visited the baths of Lucca, in company with the Baron and Baroness von Schubart, for the benefit of his health. He met many people and received much honor, especially from the Grand Duchess of Tuscany. His health was improved, but his old and tried friend, the Baroness von Schubart, died the winter following; he felt her loss deeply, for she had been his friend and confidante from the time of his arrival in Rome.

He was always busy, and one after another of his almost numberless works was finished. In 1815 he made the Achilles and Priam, a relief which is sometimes called his masterpiece; in the same year he made the famous and familiar medallions of Night and Morning; it is said that he conceived the first while awake in a sleepless, restless condition, and modelled it entirely on the following day; these medallions have been reproduced in all possible forms--in engravings, on cameos, gems, in metals, and a variety of marble, plaster, and porcelain.

About this time Thorwaldsen removed to a spacious studio with gardens, and received pupils, and was overwhelmed with orders, so that he could not yet go to Denmark, in spite of the urgent letters he received. He executed many important original works, and also restored the marbles of AEgina, now at Munich; this was a great task, but his study of the antique had made him better able to do it than was any other modern sculptor.


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