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Thorvaldsen's arrival in the Copenhagen roadstead, September 17th 1838, 1839
Oil on canvas. 71,9 x 96,2 cm
Inventory number: B217
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This picture provides an impression of the honour paid to Bertel Thorvaldsen on his return to Denmark. Over 40 years had elapsed since – as a young and unknown artist from poor circumstances – he had gone out into the world in 1797 and made his fortune. In Rome, he had become a world-famous artist, though without, forgetting his little native country far to the north. On the contrary, he had decided both to return home and to donate his sculptures and his other collections to his native city of Copenhagen on condition that a museum should be built there in which his collections could be preserved and exhibited. So it is no wonder that the reception was turned into a day of popular rejoicing. Eckersberg’s painting shows the white-haired Thorvaldsen in the captain’s barge on his way ashore from the frigate Rota. The harbour basin is swarming with small boats full of people who have sailed out to greet their famous fellow countryman.