Location: 96th Street, east side
Artist/Designer: Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen
Materials: Bronze, Danish granite
Funding: Americans of Danish descent
This outstanding self-portrait of classical design is the only statue of a sculptor in New York City parks. Albert Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) was from Denmark. As a teenager, when he showed promise as an artist, he won a scholarship to study in Rome and remained there most of his life. His neoclassical style was a major influence on many early American sculptors who worked and studied in Europe.
This life-sized self-portrait is a bronze cast copy of the original marble statue in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen. At age 70, Thorvaldsen created an idealized portrait of his youthful self in classical style. He is depicted as young and strong, holding tools and leaning on a model of his 1817 work Hope. In essence, Thorvaldsen created a sculpture of a sculptor sculpting a sculpture.
Americans of Danish descent commissioned the statue for the 50th anniversary of Thorvaldsen’s death. Now located in an obscure island between the transverse roads at East 96th and East 97th Streets, the statue was moved within the Park several times.
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