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17.11.2023 – 25.2.2024

This year marks 175 years since Thorvaldsen's Museum opened its doors to the public. In our upcoming exhibition King of the Arts - Son of the People, we take a closer look at what actually happened when Thorvaldsen arrived in Copenhagen after having lived and worked in Rome for over 40 years. We dive in to Thorvaldsen's importance for the democratization of art in Denmark. Get insight into the impact his homecoming had on Copenhagen at the time, and what political agendas were behind the celebration. What has this meant for our perception of Thorvaldsen and of the role art plays in society today?
Through letters and historical press cuts we tell the tale of the political considerations that took place before, during and after Thorvaldsen's arrival.
In the exhibition you get an impression of the enormous tribute and personal worship, which neither before nor since has been matched by anyone in Denmark. We experience how Thorvaldsen's arrival and the plans for the construction of his museum - right next to the king's castle - became an important piece in Denmark's development from autocracy to democracy. 
Starting from Sonnes Frize, which can be seen all around the museum’s façade, you can learn more about hidden symbols and happenings of a revolutionary nature, in connection with the celebration in the exhibition. Experience some of the large, beautiful carvings for the frieze and learn more about the conflicting expectations contemporaries and posterity had of Thorvaldsen's role in Denmark.
When Bertel Thorvaldsen arrived in Copenhagen in 1838 after more than 40 years in Rome, it was not just a question of a mass tribute to a superstar in the elitist world of art. Under the surface, the reception was an important, politically charged event with revolutionary elements, which in the last years of autocracy clearly manifested the steadily growing demand, for a more free and equal society.
Especially artists, students and the new wealthier citizenry saw Thorvaldsen as a role model, who showed the way for a new type of society, where all people were free and treated equally from birth. The sculptor's life path from poor boy to successful and extremely wealthy artist, became a source of inspiration even for those who didn’t know about his art. He was considered "one of us" and a "son of the people", but at the same time he was hailed as a king in the realm of art by the Pope and by the princes and nobles of Europe. That position could be exploited - both by himself and by forces in the society around him.