Bertel Thorvaldsen was a prolific Danish neoclassicist sculptor who envisioned a museum building that will one day house all his works and private art collections in his native city of Copenhagen. Unfortunately he died four years before the building was completed in 1848 but it has gone down in Denmark’s cultural annals as the country’s first art museum and is today one of the city’s most visited attractions.
Located in Slotsholmen right in the heart of Copenhagen, the impressive Greek-inspired architecture of the building is by itself a sight to behold and provides a distinct and unique tableau for Thorvaldsen’s collections. The museum also serves as the artist’s final resting place where his remains have been kept in the courtyard. Throughout his life, Thorvaldsen created over 550 sculptures, reliefs, drawings and sketches and has also amassed an extensive collection of art works and ancient historical artifacts from the Greek, Roman and Egyptian times.
These are now all on permanent display at the museum’s two floors and basement, along with the artist’s personal memorabilia such as medals, letters and books. Some of his most famous works on display include “The Lion of Lucerne,” “The Three Goddesses of Joy, Charm and Beauty,” and the replica statues of Nicolas Copernicus, Maximilian I and Jozef Poniatowski.
Thorvaldsen’s Letter Archives is by itself a separate collection where there are over 7000 documents that will give visitors a glimpse into the private life of the artist. The museum also has a coffee shop, a gift shop and certain rooms can also be rented for private dinners or receptions. It also offers guided tours and drawing workshops.