Thorvaldsens Museum is situated in the centre of Copenhagen. The museum building is very characteristic with its strong colours, the unusual façade with its large gates and sloping lines around all gates and windows.
On the roof the goddess of victory, Victoria, drives her four-in-hand and expresses the fame, which Thorvaldsen achieved in both his time and today. Inside the Museum the colours are equally strong both on the lavishly decorated ceilings, in the patterns of the floors and in the colours of the walls. And the light is fantastic in the Museum when it falls through the windows set high up and gives shape and shadow to the sculptures and reliefs.
The first museum building in Denmark
Thorvaldsens Museum was built from 1839 to 1848 and is Denmark’s oldest museum building. The Museum opened on September 18, 1848. Thorvaldsen lived and worked in Rome from 1797 to 1838 and became a famous European artist. Back home in Denmark the wish grew for a museum to be built for him. Here the original models in plaster for his sculptures were to be exhibited, and here Thorvaldsen’s collections of contemporary art and of objects from Egyptian, Greek and Roman Antiquity were to be displayed. Thorvaldsen donated everything he owned to Copenhagen and with contributions from King Frederik VI, King Christian VIII, and also from the Copenhagen local government the Museum was built.
About the museum and the architect M.G. Bindesbøll
Thorvaldsens Museum was built on the site next to Christiansborg Palace, occupied by a building housing the royal coaches and wagons. Parts of the old building are still inside the walls of the Museum. The Museum’s architect was the young Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll (1800 – 1856), who had stayed in Rome in the 1830s and was familiar with Thorvaldsen and his sculptures. Bindesbøll drew several fantastic projects for the Museum while in Rome, but in the end the result was instead a complete conversion of the existing wagon building. The Christ hall and the entrance hall were, however, newly erected.