Bertel Thorvaldsen

Explanation

  • The French photographer Neubourg’s unique daguerreotype of Thorvaldsen from 1840 is the first portrait photograph in Denmark. The revealing photographic portrait of Thorvaldsen the man provides a completely different impression of Denmark’s great sculptor from that suggested by the numerous portrait paintings of the time. Thorvaldsen’s features were often embellished, but in the photograph it is possible to see clearly the effect of many years’ toil in the studios. With his right hand it seems that he is making a sign with his first and little fingers intended to ward off the “evil eye”. But in fact we do not know if this is the case or if the position of the fingers is just incidental. In the daguerreotype it looks as though he is making this sign with his left hand. But the motif in this early photographic technique, the daguerreotype, is always laterally reversed.

Motif / Theme