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'WHITE CHRIST': SCULPTURE, MEANING AND EXISTENCE

The aim of this research project is to focus on the large group of Thorvaldsen's works, which have generally been underexposed within academical research, but which thesculptors name is closely associated with - not only in Denmark but in numerous other countries; Not only in ecclesiastical circles, but in general.

It is about Thorvaldsen's religious works, with a special focus on the Christ statue as well as his other statues and reliefs in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen. But rather than seeing and interpreting the works in relation to Thorvaldsen's biography, emphasis is placed on these three perspectives: the aesthetic, the historical and the liturgical. How, for example, is the interaction between the works and the on-looker considering the subsidiary congregation?
What characterises the relationship between sculpture and biblical text, between sculpture and ritual? Is there contradiction or harmony between the ancient inheritance and the Christian motif world? Writings of Kierkegaard and Grundtvig are refered to in the aesthetic-liturgical analysis and interpretation.
The research project is carried out by the museum inspector, PhD. Margaret Floryan. The result is a book, which is planned to be published in connection with the celebration of Thorvaldsen's 250 anniversary in 2020.
In the years 2015-2018, the project was part of the new Carlsberg Foundation's postdoctoral programme, with the Department of Church History, theological faculty, University of Copenhagen, as host institution. In 2013-2014, the project was supported by the Danish Culture Agency's museum research pool. In 2007-2008, the exhibition ' White Christ. Thorvaldsen's religious motives ' was exhibited at Thorvaldsens Museum and at the Museum of Religious Art in Lemvig.


I december 2020 udkommer den første større bog om Thorvaldsen som kirkekunstner på Aarhus Universitetsforlag. Bogens titel er KRISTUS. Thorvaldsens statue i Vor Frue Kirke, og den er skrevet af overinspektør, ph.d. Margrethe Floryan. 
KRISTUS. Thorvaldsens statue i Vor Frue Kirke sætter fokus på den monumentale hvide marmorstatue i apsis over alteret i Vor Frue Kirke i København. Kristus-statuen har i snart 200 år haft hovedrollen – både i kirkerummet og i kirkens liturgi. Bogen handler også om Vor Frue Kirkes tilblivelse, om Thorvaldsens forudsætninger og inspirationskilder og om hans andre kirkeværker. Til afslutning fortolkes skulpturerne i Vor Frue Kirke i lyset af Grundtvigs teologi og kirkens ritualer.

Bogen er resultatet af et flerårigt forskningsprojekt, som Slots- og Kulturstyrelsen og Ny Carlsbergfondet har finansieret. Margrethe Floryan var 2015-2018 ansat som postdoc ved Teologisk Fakultet,Københavns Universitet. 

https://arkivet.thorvaldsensmuseum.dk/artikler/thorvaldsens-kristus-fortolket-af-grundtvig-og-kendt-af-alverden
https://arkivet.thorvaldsensmuseum.dk/artikler/temaer-i-udstillingen-hvide-krist-thorvaldsens-religoese-motiver
https://arkivet.thorvaldsensmuseum.dk/articles/jesu-liv-i-thorvaldsens-fortolkning-projekt-mynchener-apostelkirche