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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.


Det handler om Thorvaldsens kirkeværker, med særligt fokus på Kristus-statuen og hans øvrige statuer og relieffer i Vor Frue Kirke i København. Men fremfor at se og fortolke værkerne i forhold til Thorvaldsens biografi bliver der lagt vægt på disse tre perspektiver: det æstetiske, det historiske og det liturgiske. Hvordan er f.eks. samspillet mellem værk og betragter subsidiært menighed? Hvad karakteriserer forholdet mellem skulptur og bibelsk tekst, mellem skulptur og ritual? Er der modsætning eller harmoni mellem det antikke arvegods og den kristne motivverden? Skrifter af Kierkegaard og Grundtvig inddrages i den æstetisk-liturgiske analyse og fortolkning.

Forskningsprojektet gennemføres af museumsinspektør, ph.d. Margrethe Floryan. Det munder ud i en bog, som planlægges udgivet i forbindelse med fejringen af Thorvaldsens 250 årsdag i 2020.
I årene 2015-2018 var projektet del af Ny Carlsbergfondets postdoc-program, med Afdeling for Kirkehistorie, Teologisk Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, som værtsinstitution. I 2013-2014 blev projektet støttet af Kulturstyrelsens pulje til museumsforskning. I 2007-2008 vistes udstillingen ’Hvide Krist. Thorvaldsens religiøse motiver’ på Thorvaldsens Museum og på Museet for Religiøs Kunst i Lemvig.

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