Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) is one of Denmark’s best known artists. For more than 40 years he lived in Rome where he became one of the most important European representatives of Neo-Classicist sculptural art.
Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen on November 19th, 1770, to poor parents. His father was a carver and immigrant from Iceland. His mother was the daughter of a parish clerk at the village of Lemvig. The young Bertel entered the Art Academy in Copenhagen at the young age of 11 with an unusually bright talent and was educated here as a sculptor until 1793. In 1796 he got the opportunity of travelling to Rome as the Academy’s scholar for three years to be further educated. But he stayed in Rome, received numerous orders and became one of Europe’s best known artists.
He welcomes worshippers into a world of neoclassical serenity. Statues of the 12 apostles line the nave — carved by the great Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Inspired by the famous Italian sculptor Canova, his art complements the relative austerity and comforting simplicity of Lutheran worship.
The apostles lead to Thorvaldsen's masterpiece: a statue of the risen Christ. Thorvaldsen was a master at showing both heavenly and human characteristics. Wearing his burial shroud Jesus opens his arms and says, "Come to me."