Skitse af Thorvaldsens Museums facade forfrany

The architect’s dream job

In 1837, Gottlieb Bindesbøll is appointed architect of the future Thorvaldsen’s Museum. He has great ambitions for the building. It should match the quality and the antique references that characterize Thorvaldsen's works - and of course, be to the pleasure and joy of the public. 
Tegning fra Thorvaldsens arkiv

Museum in the making 

Bindesbøll and Thorvaldsen get to know each other in 1834, when Bindesbøll is in Rome. He is fascinated by the colours and idioms of antiquity, and this makes a great impression on Thorvaldsen. They discuss the future museum, and Bindesbøll begins sketching.

See one of the first drafts
Brev fra Thorvaldsens arkiv

Thorvaldsen’s gift

In 1838, Thorvaldsen leaves Rome and returns to Copenhagen. He bequeaths all his artworks and his entire art collection to his native town in a gift deed. The efforts to find the ideal place for the museum are intensified.

Read the letter from Bindesbøll in which he describes his visions
Read Thorvaldsen’s will and gift deed
C.F. Hansen Maleri

The perfect location

In 1839, King Frederik VI offers the old carriage building next to Christiansborg Castle in view of the future museum. Both Bindesbøll and Thorvaldsen see the potential. The king approves Bindesbøll's final drawings, and construction begins.

See one of Bindesbøll’s approved drawings
Loftet i korridoren på Thorvaldsens Museum, nattehimmel

Antique settings

Following the remodeling of the carriage building, artisans and painters begin decorating the museum.

Using antiquity as a reference, the museum itself becomes a gesamtkunstwerk, and a monument in honor of Thorvaldsen and the arts.
Read a letter from Bindesbøll to Thorvaldsen about the museum
Grøn farve

Explore the collection

The museum is inaugurated in 1848 as the first public art museum in Denmark. The exhibition “Sensing Colours. Thorvaldsens Museum” marks the museum’s 175th anniversary.

See many more of Bindesbøll’s drawings in our catalogue
See all the museum’s works from our anniversary exhibition