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The Passengers on the Rota 1838, 1838
Pencil on paper. Inscription in pencil. 326 x 442/440 mm
Inventory number: D1608
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Thorvaldsen left Rome on 5 August 1838. On 7 August in Livorno he boarded the frigate Rota, which had been dispatched by the King of Denmark with the object of bringing the sculptor along with his works home to Copenhagen after more than 40 years in Rome. Blunck has drawn the ship’s officers and important passengers. Thorvaldsen can be seen in the middle with Captain Dahlerup on his left. In profile at the bottom left, the artist has portrayed himself. Finally, anchor was raised in the morning of 9 August, and “by about 10 o’clock […] we were under sail with a good wind and fresh breeze, but we had not gone far beyond Gorgona before the wind died down, and now we lay drifting on a completely calm sea for more than a week” – so wrote Captain Hans Birch in his memoirs. Finally in the afternoon of 17 September, the ship dropped anchor in the Port of Copenhagen, and thousands of Copenhageners welcomed Thorvaldsen with shouts of delight at the Custom House and along the city streets.