We are used to imagining the works of the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen set in classical mythology, as is the case with his figure of Hebe or his famous Jason with the Golden Fleece. But this neoclassical artist also did some work of a religious nature. And in this regard stands out hisChrist blessingthat is in the museum that bears his name inCopenhagen, the capital ofDenmarkwhere he was born
Christ Blessing by Thorvaldsen
The work is there today, but its original location was to be the Lutheran Cathedral of Our Lady in Copenhagen. A place that required a colossal figure like this, in which the artist invested several years of work, specifically between 1821 and 1827. And it was not going to be alone, it was about being accompanied by twelve other figures, of the Apostles, which should be placed on the sides of the central nave of a temple that was also neoclassical style, since it was a practically contemporary construction of the architect Christian Frederik Hansen.
The great commission came to Thorvaldsen while he was in his studio inRome, where he had achieved enormous prestige for his classicist ways. And it is very curious, since surely this Danish creator, with very different Nordic artistic and mythological traditions, was the one who best embodied the strictest ideals of Neoclassicismand more academic. When he worked, he was tremendously rigorous in each and every one of the historicist elements that he included in his works. Much more than other contemporary artists of Mediterranean origin. Although such rigor sometimes eliminates expressiveness and vividness to his creations.
Somehow that is manifested even in this marble of Christ blessing. Which from the first moment can give us the feeling of being a Greco-Latin god of Olympus. Although it is true that if we compare this work by Thorvaldsen with many of his other sculptures, it can be seen that in this case there is a certain transmission. The figure emanates, or rather suggests a mysterious and almost indescribable spirituality. Without a doubt, he has been able to recreate a supernatural look closely linked to the legend engraved on the figure's pedestal. There you can read: “Come to me” Matthew XI, 28. A fragment of the complete verse that is “come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. In short, this work is one of Thorvaldsen's best creations and, curiously, in the religious field he did not work excessively.