Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) was a Danish-Icelandic sculptor. Thorvaldsen is one of the central figures of the golden age of Danish art and one of the main artists in neoclassicism. The Thorvaldsen Museum was the first museum in the world dedicated to the works of a single person.
Despite his status in Denmark Bertel Thorvaldsen lived and worked for most of his life in Rome, where he was a central neoclassical artist. He originally travelled to Rome on a travel award from the Danish Art Academy in 1797 and did not return permanently to Copenhagen before 1838.
Thorvaldsen's first major well-known work, which also became his ticket to stay in Rome, was the statue of Jason with the Golden Fleece.
Jason was ordered in 1803 and financed Thorvaldsen's further stay in Rome.
The statue is a great example of the style that would become Thorvaldsen's throughout his life, namely the harmonic neoclassicism in clear white marble with idealised bodies and heroic expressions.
Thorvaldsen showed early talent for the art of the sculptor and was admitted to the Art Academy as early as 1781 at only 11 years of age.
He received many silver and gold medals for his work and in 1796 he got the travel award, which would bring him to Rome, where he would carve his most known works.
Thorvaldsen arrived in Rome 8th March 1797 and in keeping with the time and inspired by Goethe Thorvaldsen would hence forth called this his second and most important birthday.
Thorvaldsen made many reliefs and some of these has been produced as small plates in plaster by both Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl.