The Mormon Americanization of Cristus


A life-size image of Christus watches over my Stuttmeister kin in Berlin…..forever?

5 things you never knew about the Christus statue – LDS Living

After the three Mormon Sisters left my home, I mediated on the claim that Jesus came to America. Is there any real substantial proof of this? You could say whoever presents the BEST answer to this claim, and presents the more thorough doctrine backing up this unbelievable idea – becomes the head of the Mormon church. If Mormon Founders did anything special, they Americanized Jesus Christ. They put an image of him standing next to a covered wagon – and a team of oxen? Why staddle the fence any longer. Consider…..The Art.

The greatest artist to come out of Nebraska – by far – is Gutzon Borglum, who created Mount Rushmore and the Confederate monument that is in the news. Gutzon and his family lived in Omaha and Fremont City. When they moved to Los Angeles, my kindred, Jessie Benton-Fremont, became his patron. She sent Gutzon to famous art schools in Europe. Gutzon did a bust of Jessie, and a portrait of John Fremont.

Bertel Thorvaldsen claimed he descends claimed descent from Snorri Thorfinnsson, the first European born in America. My ex-wife Mary Ann Tharaldsen claims descent from Eric the Red. She was a artist. If religious artwork replaced religious doctrine, then, everyone would be well-pleased, except for the Jews and Muslims who claim they are not allowed t make “graven images”. How many religious books contain genealogies? I took over Herbert Armstrong’s Radio Church of God. I tried to save KORE which was an American Temple for British Israelism and the Family Trees it promotes. This morning I awoke with the idea I may have found an integral religion that will be a Repository for Royal Rosamond Press ‘A Newspaper For The Art’ and perhaps the longest genealogical search – in American History! I will post on GRANITE MOUNTAIN.

John Presco

Four hours after I posted, I read this…

Documents Shed Light on Secret U.S. Plans for Apocalyptic Scenarios (

WASHINGTON — Newly disclosed documents have shed a crack of light on secret executive branch plans for apocalyptic scenarios — like the aftermath of a nuclear attack — when the president may activate wartime powers for national security emergencies.

Bertel Thorvaldsen – Wikipedia

Could the Mormon Church end up like the Worldwide Church of God? – Mormonism Research Ministry (


Granite Mountain Records Vault – Mormonism, The Mormon Church, Beliefs, & Religion – MormonWiki

This teaching argues that the Ten Tribes of Israel are currently represented by those of Anglo-Saxon heritage (particularly those in Great Britain). Armstrong believed that true Christianity ceased to exist after the death of the apostles and that Christ’s church did not appear again until the institution of the WCG.

Could the Mormon Church end up like the Worldwide Church of God?

By Bill McKeever

The following was originally printed in the May-June 2011 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here

Though I can’t recall addressing this publicly, I am often asked whether or not I envision the Mormon Church making a radical departure from heresy like the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) did back in the 1980s. For those unfamiliar with the history of the WCG, allow me to give a very brief overview.

The WCG was founded in 1934 by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) primarily as a radio ministry and was originally known as The Radio Church of God. The WCG name came about in 1968. Armstrong was probably best known for the controversial teaching of Anglo-Israelism (or British-Israelism). This teaching argues that the Ten Tribes of Israel are currently represented by those of Anglo-Saxon heritage (particularly those in Great Britain). Armstrong believed that true Christianity ceased to exist after the death of the apostles and that Christ’s church did not appear again until the institution of the WCG. He rejected the Trinity and became a Sabbatarian. He also taught that keeping the commandments was necessary as a means of salvation.

When Armstrong died in 1986, the WCG saw radical doctrinal changes under successor Joseph W. Tkach (1927-1995). When Tkach died in 1995, the leadership was left to his son, Joseph Tkach, Jr., who continued with his father’s reforms. So great were the changes that the WCG shed the label of cult and is now accepted in the Evangelical fold. As changes were being implemented, membership and revenue continued to drop. Some have estimated that the membership peaked at just under 150,000. In 2009, the WCG changed its name to Grace Communion International; its current membership stands at around 42,000.

I agree that what happened with the WCG was unprecedented. Never before have we seen such an incredible doctrinal transformation. Can this happen with the LDS Church? Of course, with God anything is possible, but I personally think the checks and balances inherent in Mormonism make this extremely unlikely. Remember, the WCG was ruled by only a few men. The LDS Church has a minimum of 15 men in the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, all of whom would have to agree to abandon a host of heretical teachings.

Some have pointed to scattered comments from Mormon academics that give hope to imminent change; however, while such lay members may have their opinions (inconsistent as they often are), they have no authority to make doctrinal changes for the church.

Do those who think the LDS Church is changing ever listen to general conference and/or read church publications? Those of us who do have yet to see anything that hints of such a change. In fact, I myself have been a little surprised at how much traditional Mormonism has been dusted off recently and reintroduced publicly to the membership. Who would have imagined that two separate speakers at the general conference last October would highlight Ezra Taft Benson’s “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” speech? This is hardly a move towards orthodoxy!

President Gordon Hinckley stated in general conference,

“Those who observe us say that we are moving into the mainstream of religion. We are not changing. The world’s perception of us is changing. We teach the same doctrine” (Ensign, November 2001, p.5).

If the Mormons insist they are not modifying their doctrines, why are Christians claiming they are?

Even if President Monson did announce that Mormonism was just a bad joke, consider how many splinter groups would immediately form. Some have estimated that there are literally hundreds of splinter groups now claiming to teach true WCG doctrine, and that from among a peak membership of 150,000. Imagine the number from a church that currently represents 14 million members.

Knight Stuttmeister (Stallmeister)

Posted on January 26, 2020 by Royal Rosamond Press

“Come unto me”

Berlin-Mitte (Stadtbezirk Mitte von Berlin, Ortsteil Mitte), Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, Chausseestraße 126 (siehe oben); Grabanlage der Familie StuttmeisterRittergutsbesitzer aus Charlottenburg, errichtet 1890 aus Granit, Grabwand mit rundbogiger Wandnische in einer Säulenädikula (Ädikula-Nische) und Christusfigur aus Bronze nach Entwurf des Berliner Bildhauers Julius Moser (1832-1916) in Anlehnung an die berühmte Christusfigur von 1839 des Bildhauers Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) in der Frauenkirche von Kopenhagen; zuletzt das rechts angrenzende Grab des Hermann Heinrich Alexander Wentzel (1820-1889), Architekt und königlicher Baurat, ebenfalls eine aufwendige Anlage aus Granit mit einer Bildnisbüste aus Bronze des Bildhauers Fritz Schaper (1841-1919); Aufnahmedatum: 20.5.2019

Thorvaldsen was commissioned to sculpt statues of Jesus and the apostles for the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen. The statue of Jesus was completed in 1821.The statue is 345 centimeter high.[1] The inscription at the base of the sculpture reads “Kommer til mig” (“Come to me”) with a reference to the Bible verse: Matthew 11:28.

Mount Rushmore

Posted on August 16, 2017 by Royal Rosamond Press

The Jessie Scouts

Posted on April 27, 2014by Royal Rosamond Press


For years I have been begging women to step forth and reform the Jessie Scouts who conducted clandestine operations against the Hapsburgs in Mexico. Jessie Benton’s relative – were the South! They all turned their back on her when she favored the Abolitionists. Her husband was the first Presidential Candidate of the Republican Party he co-founded. I say this to the Nazis and Neo-Confederates………….

GET OUT! Get out of my family’s traditional party. Form you own party, and take that hysterical orange monster – with you!

As Von Trump said, he likes heroes that win, and, don’t get taken prisoner.

Jon Presco

Jessie Scouts were irregular soldiers during the American Civil War on the side of the Union who operated in territory of the Confederate States of America in the southern United States in insurgency missions.[1][2] The unit was created by John C. Frémont and named in honour of his wife, rather than of a Colonel Jessie, who was himself a myth.[3] The initial Jessie Scout unit was formed in St. Louis, Missouri early in the war as the plan to develop independent scouts was implemented. The first man to command the scouts was Charles C. Carpenter.[4][5] The Jessie Scouts wore Confederate uniforms with a white handkerchief over their shoulders to signify their allegiance to friendly troops, and number around 58 for much of the war, commanded by Major Henry Young.[6]

Von Trump says the group with torches were protesting against the attack on their TRADITIONAL history and culture. First of all, their forefathers were Democrats and Dixiecrats – and not Republicans! Secondly, their history is that of TRAITORS who fired cannons and rifles at loyal Americans. The Confederacy paid for warships made in Scotland that terrorized un-armed merchant ships, murdering thousands. These traitors – lost their insurrection. This was no war. They had no good cause to fight for! There tradition and history is that of slave owners and traitors, who lost! These are losers! The losers are the ones trying to change history, and change the United Culture of Segregated Liberals. They want a divided America – again!

The Lawrence massacre, also known as Quantrill’s raid, was an attack during the American Civil War by the Quantrill’s Raiders, a Confederate guerilla group led by William Quantrill, on the Union town of Lawrence, Kansas.

The attack on August 21, 1863 targeted Lawrence due to the town’s long support of abolition and its reputation as a center for Jayhawkers and Redlegs, which were free-state militia and vigilante groups known for attacking and destroying farms and plantations in Missouri‘s pro-slavery western counties.

The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party of the United States from around 1854 (before the American Civil War) until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. They called themselves “Radicals” and were opposed during the War by the Moderate Republicans (led by President Abraham Lincoln), by the conservative Republicans, and the largely pro-slavery and later anti-Reconstruction Democratic Party, as well as by conservatives in the South and liberals in the North during Reconstruction.[1] Radicals strongly opposed slavery during the war and after the war distrusted ex-Confederates, demanding harsh policies for punishing the former rebels, and emphasizing equality, civil rights, and voting rights for the “freedmen” (recently freed slaves).[2]

During the war, Radical Republicans often opposed Lincoln in terms of selection of generals (especially his choice of Democrat George B. McClellan for top command of the major eastern Army of the Potomac) and his efforts to bring seceded Southern states back into the Union as quickly and easily as possible. The Radicals passed their own reconstruction plan through the Congress in 1864, but Lincoln vetoed it and was putting his own presidential policies in effect by virtue as military commander-in-chief when he was assassinated in April 1865.[3] Radicals pushed for the uncompensated abolition of slavery, while Lincoln wanted to pay slave owners who were loyal to the Union. After the war, the Radicals demanded civil rights for freedmen, such as measures ensuring suffrage. They initiated the various Reconstruction Acts, and limited political and voting rights for ex-Confederate civil officials, military officers and soldiers. They keenly fought President Andrew Johnson; they weakened his powers and attempted to remove him from office through impeachment, which failed by one vote in 1868.

Artistic Development of Gutzon Borglum

Posted on August 23, 2013by Royal Rosamond Press


The greatest artist to come out of Nebraska – by far – is Gutzon Borglum, who created Mount Rushmore. Gutzon and his family lived in Omaha and Fremont City. When they moved to Los Angeles, my kindred, Jessie Benton-Fremont, became his patron. She sent Gutzon to famous art schools in Europe. Gutzon did a bust of Jessie, and a portrait of John Fremont.

Charles Lummis the editor of ‘The Land of Sunshine’ and ‘Out West’ was a great promoter of Gutzon and the Fremonts. There is a good chance my grandfather, Royal Rosamond, knew Lummis because he published his poems and stories in Out West..

In 1970, I went with Rena Easton to the art department at the University of Nebraska where she unveiled a life-size clay sculpture of her boyfriend. I later did two paintings of Rena Christensen. One of them inspired my sister to take up art, and she became the world famous artist, Christine Rosamond Presco. She later married Garth Benton, the cousin of the famous artist, Thomas Hart Benton, the grandson of Senator Thomas Hart Benton, the father of Jessie Benton, and father-in-law of John Fremont, the first presidential candidate of the Republican Party.

Royal was bid to write by the artists, Jack and Fanny Cory. Fanny did covers for the Saturday Evening Posts, as did Philip Boileau, the son of Susan Benton who had a salon in Paris and may have sponsored Gutzon in France.

Christine and Garth were introduced by Lawrence Chazen, a partner of Rosamond in her first Carmel Gallery, and business partner of the Getty and Pelosi family. Nancy Pelosi’s husband and Chazen are top financial advisors for the Getty family who at one time owned the largest art collections in the world. Chazen is a CEO of Nobel Oil, and was my father’s private lender in his loan business.

If Rena and I had not mended the rent in our relationship at the University of Nebraska Museum, then Christine would not have become famous and married into the creative Benton family, because, I would not have captured her beauty on canvas. I am the Benton and Rosamond family historian.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2013

Out of Rushmore’s Shadow: The Artistic Development of Gutzon Borglum

“Out of Rushmore’s Shadow: The Artistic Development of Gutzon Borglum” will be on exhibit at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center through February 20, 2000. The exhibition is a major retrospective on the work of Gutzon Borglum, best known for the carving of the presidential portraits on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

The exhibition’s logo, “The road to Rushmore goes through Stamford,” underscores the years that Borglum resided in Stamford, Connecticut and created some of his most important works in the studio he built there. At the core of the exhibition is the museum’s Borglum collection, including recent acquisitions. Other artwork, photography and memorabilia are on loan from museums and private collectors throughout the country. These include Mission San Juan Capistrano, California; San Antonio Museum, Texas; the Borglum Historical Center, South Dakota, Irvine Museum , California, and R. W. Norton Art Gallery , Shreveport, Louisiana.

Borglum, the man behind the artist, comes to life, not only in his works but in the narrative of the exhibition and the essays in the catalogue. Mary Donohue, of the Connecticut Historical Commission, says in her essay, “…He counted American presidents, inordinately wealthy industrialists, and members of society’s elite as friends and patrons.” The exhibition analyzes the artist’s career by dividing it into basically four phases: Californian, Rodin-inspired, monumental, and colossal. It illustrates the changing artistic, historical, cultural, and philosophical nature of Borglum’s career. it shows the artist’s choice of his subjects and style in relationship to his environment, his chance encounters with inspiring masters, political crisis, and the prevailing trends of his day. Borglum’s granddaughter Robin Carter quotes his philosophy on creating, “The reason for building any work of art can only be for the purpose of fixing in some durable form a great emotion, or a great idea, of the individual, or the people.” (left: I have Piped Unto You and Ye Have Not Danced, c. 1910, marble, SMNC, Pierre Dupuy)

Supporting the exhibition is a full color catalogue featuring seven-annotated essays on different aspects of Borglum’s life and works, with an illustrated checklist of the exhibition’s contents.

Children will find the Mini Gallery filled with ideas for projects by age level, such as locating Borglum’s horse paintings and identifying them, studying portraits and making a self portrait, discovering the use of scale and ways to enlarge or reduce features.

The museum’s collection of Borglum’s artworks is the second largest in the country. Most of them came from the artist’s estate. Because of their poor condition, they had not been seen by the public in many years. Thanks to widespread community support, the museum arranged to have these pieces restored to their original condition. It was agreed by the Borglum family, who appreciated the tremendous research and effort to restore these pieces, that the collection should remain at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center to serve as an important resource center on the artist’s work.

Rosa Portell, the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s curator of collections, organized this exhibition and is one of the country’s leading authorities on Gutzon Borglum. Last summer, Ms. Portell attended, by invitation of the Borglum family, the dedication of the Hall of Records at Mount Rushmore’s National Memorial. In attendance at the dedication were members of the Borglum family, federal, state and local officials and other dignitaries.

Following are script excerpts by Rosa Portell, Curator of Collections, Stamford Museum and Nature Center which serve as an excellent biography of the artist:

From California to Mount Rushmore: A Half Century of Change

“Gutzon Borglum’s artistic career covers more than half a century. Born shortly after the Civil War, he witnessed his country’s transformation from a young nation struggling with its identity into a world power with a decisive role to play in international affairs. In many ways, his art reflects this transformation…In his Stamford days (1910-1920), however, Borglum was to reach a perfect balance between the artist and the statesman. Ever involved, his public life affected his art in subject matter and even in style. Leaving his “pipe dreams” behind, his work became strongly nationalistic and ideological, reflecting increasingly larger concepts of the nation and of its new role in the world. From then on, in his relentless pursuit of all-American themes and styles Borglum would follow a path entirely of his own making, a unique path that leads step-by-step to Mount Rushmore.”

The Dream of California

“In 1884 seventeen-year old Gutzon Borglum moved from Nebraska to California with his family, determined to become an artist. The Borglums wanted to share in the excitement of the California of the 1880s. Thanks to the completion of the transcontinental railway, California was teeming with activity and competing with other areas of the United States in trade, population, and culture.

Influenced by his fellow-artists William Keith, Virgil Williams, and Elizabeth Jaynes Putnam – whom he would eventually marry — Borglum’s early works depicted the state’s landscape and subjects in a romanticized way. In doing so he reflected the view of California as a paradise at the end of the trail, which the state was proudly promoting to the rest of the nation. California’s artists were contributing to the propagation of this image through their art…”

Land of Sunshine

One of the main promoters of the exalted view of California and the West was The Land of Sunshine, a magazine edited by Charles Lummis. Artists were included in its editorial board and played an important role in shaping its content. Borglum’s contributions started in 1895. He also redesigned its cover. The magazine’s contributors saw themselves as members of an important cultural center that was emerging as an alternative to the well-established ones in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia They portrayed their art and their writing as closer to nature and to the land than those of the older American cities and, being further removed from European models, more American.

The magazine’s slogan, The Land of Sunshine Expands One’s Soul, was in Spanish The use of this language symbolized the intellectuals’ embrace of the state’s colonial heritage as a unique source of tradition, history, and colorful imagery.”

Augustus John, Ian Fleming, and Ben Toney

Posted on July 8, 2019 by Royal Rosamond Press

I posted this weeks before Ben Toney died. I wanted him to get a glimpse of how he was going to be remembered. I had come to realize I was involved in a real James Bond assignment which is to save the alliance between and the United States. I threw Holland into the mix, to only learn two days ago the Dutch had their pirate ship.

The making of Bond 25 is – cursed! The muses hate this movie. Violence and murder is not the message God wants to give in regards to solving world problems. In the name of kindred, Ian Flaming – I take over this production and legacy! I pirate it. I board this wreck and raise a United Flag that contains a musical note and a harp!


Bertel Thorvaldson and Tolkein

Posted on January 26, 2020 by Royal Rosamond Press

Capturing Beauty


John Presco

Chapter: Art Overcoming The World

Is there such a thing as Art Justice – With Truth? To discover (after the rival biographers have had their day) that the Stuttmeister Mausoleum is a Outdoor Art Gallery for one of the most famous images of Jesus – of all time – frees me from the Enslaving Darkness that my late family erected, that employed the art of my late sister, Christine Rosamond Benton, who was not a famous artist, but a popular commercial artist – until now! History has caught up with the whole charade, the Art Dollars on the parade, that led to the Getty Museum door – and J.R. Tolkien’s vision of another world, based upon the Icelandic People of Snorri Thorvaldson, who is a ancestor to my late wife. Because of me, my daughter and nieces can go to Berlin, and worship Art and Bilbo. You can just see Heather Hanson and my grandson, Tyler Hunt, inside the Stuttmeister Tomb in Colma. Her days of snubbing me, are at an end. Our ancestor is a proven Teutonic Knight, as Rosemary told her two sons. What about her two grandsons?

What we have here, is a real Art Book, and a Real Family Legend. How about a Real Broadway Play? In my version of The Phantom of the Opera, Erik dies during a difficult birth where instruments were used, thus his deformity. A Good Doctor breaths life into Erik, and he is Twice Born. He has seen heaven and hell. His parents turn their back on their son who they give to a Persian who can see Erik’s angelic wings – that give him a divine protection. He can hear the Music of The Creation, and those who come in contact with him can hear this music, but faintly. Because of the Fall of Humankind, they can not see the Total Beauty and Truth.

Character history

In the original novel, few details are given regarding Erik’s past. The novel confirms that Erik has traveled to multiple countries including France, Russia, Persia, and northern Vietnam, learning various arts and sciences from each region. Erik himself laments the fact that his mother was horrified by his birth deformity, and that his father, a true master mason, never saw him. Most of the character’s history is revealed by a mysterious figure, known through most of the novel as The Persian or the Daroga, who saved Erik’s life in Persia, and followed Erik to Paris; other details are discussed in the novel’s epilogue (e.g., his birthplace is given as a small town outside of Rouen,

How Icelandic Norse Mythology Influenced Tolkien

Snorri is an Old Norse name derived from the word snerra, meaning “a fight.” Þorfinnsson is a patronymic, meaning “son of Þorfinnr”, (see Icelandic naming conventions). Snorri was named for his great-grandfather, Snorri Þórðarson,[4] or after Snorri Þorbrandsson who was not a kinsman but a participant in Karsefni’s expedition[5]


There is speculation about the birth date of Snorri Thorfinnsson. Birth years such as 1005, 1009, and 1012 have been postulated, but all sources agree that he was born between 1005 and 1013. According to the Vinland sagas, when Snorri was 3 years old, his family left Vinland because of hostilities with indigenous peoples (called Skrælingar by the settlers, meaning “barbarians”). The family returned to the Glaumbær farm in Seyluhreppur.[6][7] [8]

Snorri Thorfinnsson had two children; a daughter named Hallfrid, and a son named Thorgeir. Hallfrid was the mother of Thorlak Runolfsson, bishop of Skálholt in the south of Iceland. One of the descendants of Snorri’s brother Thorbjorn, Bjorn Gilsson, was also a bishop of Hólar. Thorgeir was the father of Yngvild who was the mother of Brand Sæmundarsson, bishop of Hólar.[9] The sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen claimed descent from Snorri Thorfinnsson in the 19th century.[10]

The Stuttmeister Tomb in Berlin

Posted on March 6, 2012by Royal Rosamond Press

A Seer told me in 1987: “You own your own creation – you died!”

What she meant, is, I beheld my conception by my parents, before I went to heaven and saw God.

My parents were playing cards in the sand, naked. I walked up to them as a child of three, looked down at the cards that were all face cards, and they were talking to me in foreign languages. They were my kindred, who were very distressed because they had been silenced in their lifetime. They were Evangelicals (father)and Huguenots (mother) They are buried next to one another in Berlin. Here lies the roses amongst the thorns. I part the veil,
and I behold the Lost Kingdom – and I give a command

“Arise from thy sleep, the true church of God!”

In this video we see the Stuttmeister tomb about 15 seconds into it. This name means ‘Master of the Horse’. Consider the pale horse and rider. Here the Templars and Teutonic Knights have come to rest.

Cut and paste this url:

In Matthew 27:53 we read about Jesus raising Jews from the dead, then saying; “It is done!” He did not say, it is done, and then come the earthquake. These Jewish Saints did not rise on Sunday, but went into Jerusalem Friday night just before sundown. They imparted a restored and new covenant – a Gift for the Chosen Children of God. I believe these Saints were a lineage of Nazarites from Samson and Samuel.

Bertel Thorvaldsen

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Bertel Thorvaldsen
Portrait by Carl Joseph Begas, ca. 1820
BornAlbert Bertel Thorvaldsen19 November 1770[citation needed]Copenhagen, Denmark
Died24 March 1844(1844-03-24) (aged 73)Copenhagen, Denmark
Known forSculpting

Bertel Thorvaldsen (Danish: [pæɐ̯tl̩ ˈtˢɒːˌvælˀsn̩]; 19 November 1770 – 24 March 1844) was a Danish sculptor of international fame and medallist,[1] who spent most of his life (1797–1838) in Italy. Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen into a Danish/Icelandic family of humble means, and was accepted to the Royal Danish Academy of Art when he was eleven years old. Working part-time with his father, who was a wood carver, Thorvaldsen won many honors and medals at the academy. He was awarded a stipend to travel to Rome and continue his education.

In Rome, Thorvaldsen made a name for himself as a sculptor. Maintaining a large workshop in the city, he worked in a heroic neo-classicist style. His patrons resided all over Europe.[2]

Upon his return to Denmark in 1838, Thorvaldsen was received as a national hero. The Thorvaldsen Museum was erected to house his works next to Christiansborg Palace. Thorvaldsen is buried within the courtyard of the museum. In his time, he was seen as the successor of master sculptor Antonio Canova. His strict adherence to classical norms has tended to estrange modern audiences. Among his more famous public monuments are the statues of Nicolaus Copernicus and Józef Poniatowski in Warsaw; the statue of Maximilian I in Munich; and the tomb monument of Pope Pius VII, the only work by a non-Catholic in St. Peter’s Basilica.


Early life and education[edit]

Self-portrait by Thorvaldsen while he was a student at the Royal Academy of Arts

Princess Wilhelmine, Duchess of Sagan by Bertel Thorvaldsen 1818, Albertinum, Dresden

Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen in 1770 (according to some accounts, in 1768), the son of Gottskálk Þorvaldsson, an Icelander who had settled in Denmark. His father was a wood-carver at a ship yard, where he made decorative carvings for large ships and was the early source of influence on his son Bertel’s development as a sculptor and on his choice of career. Thorvaldsen’s mother was Karen Dagnes, a Jutlandic peasant girl. His birth certificate and baptismal records have never been found, and the only existing record is of his confirmation in 1787.[3] Thorvaldsen had claimed descent from Snorri Thorfinnsson, the first European born in America.[4]

Thorvaldsen’s childhood in Copenhagen was humble. His father had a drinking habit that slowed his career.[5] Nothing is known of Thorvaldsen’s early schooling, and he may have been schooled entirely at home. He never became good at writing, and he never acquired much of the knowledge of fine culture that was expected from an artist.[6]

In 1781, by the help of some friends, eleven-year-old Thorvaldsen was admitted to Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi) first as a draftsman, and from 1786 at the modeling school. At night he would help his father in the wood carving. Among his professors were Nicolai Abildgaard and Johannes Wiedewelt, who are both likely influences for his later neo-classicist style.

At the Academy he was highly praised for his works and won all the prizes from the small Silver Medal to the large Gold Medal for a relief of St. Peter healing the crippled beggar in 1793. As a consequence, he was granted a Royal stipend, enabling him to complete his studies in Rome. Leaving Copenhagen on August 30 on the frigate Thetis, he landed in Palermo in January 1797 traveled to Naples where he studied for a month before making his entry to Rome on 8 March 1797. Since the date of his birth had never been recorded, he celebrated this day as his “Roman birthday” for the rest of his life.


A portrait of Thorvaldsen, by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg

In Rome he lived at Via Sistina in front of the Spanish Steps and had his workshop in the stables of the Palazzo Barberini. He was taken under the wing of Georg Zoëga a Danish archeologist and numismatist living in Rome. Zoëga took an interest in seeing to it that the young Thorvaldsen acquired an appreciation of the antique arts. As a frequent guest at Zoëga’s house he met Anna Maria von Uhden, born Magnani. She had worked in Zoëga’s house as a maid and had married a German archeologist. She became Thorvaldsen’s mistress and left her husband in 1803. In 1813 she gave birth to a daughter, Elisa Thorvaldsen.

Thorvaldsen also studied with another Dane, Asmus Jacob Carstens whose handling of classic themes became a source of inspiration. Thorvaldsen’s first success was the model for a statue of Jason; finished in 1801 it was highly praised by Antonio Canova, the most popular sculptor in the city. But the work was slow in selling and his stipend having run out, he planned his return to Denmark. In 1803, as he was set to leave Rome, he received the commission to execute the Jason in marble from Thomas Hope, a wealthy English art-patron. From that time Thorvaldsen’s success was assured, and he did not leave Italy for sixteen years.

The marble Jason was not finished until 25 years later, as Thorvaldsen quickly became a busy man. Also in 1803, he started work on Achilles and Briseïs his first classically themed relief. I 1804 he finished Dance of the Muses at Helicon and a group statue of Cupid and Psyche and other important early works such as Apollo, Bacchus og Ganymedes. During 1805, he had to expand his workshop and enlist the help of several assistants. These assistants undertook most of the marble cutting, and the master limited himself to doing the sketches and finishing touches. Commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1808 and finished in 1832 a statue of Adonis is one of the few works in marble carved solely by Thorvaldsen’s own hand, and at the same time it is one of the works that is closest to the antique Greek ideals.

In the spring of 1818 Thorvaldsen fell ill, and during his convalescence he was nursed by the Scottish lady Miss Frances Mackenzie. Thorvaldsen proposed to her on March 29, 1819, but the engagement was cancelled after a month. Thorvaldsen had fallen in love with another woman: Fanny Caspers. Torn between Mackenzie and Anna Maria Von Uhden the mother of his daughter, Thorvaldsen never succeeded in making Miss Caspers his wife.

Contemporary painting by Fritz Westphal of Thorvaldsen’s reception as a national hero on his return to Denmark in 1838.

In 1819, he visited his native Denmark. Here he was commissioned to make the colossal series of statues of Christ and the Twelve Apostles for the rebuilding of Vor Frue Kirke (from 1922 known as the Copenhagen Cathedral) between 1817 and 1829, after its having been destroyed in the British bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. These were executed after his return to Rome, and were not completed until 1838, when Thorvaldsen returned with his works to Denmark, being received as a hero.[7]


Towards the end of 1843 he was prohibited from working for medical reasons, but he began to work again in January 1844. His last composition from 24 March was a sketch for a statue of the genie in chalk on a blackboard. At night he had dinner with his friends Adam Oehlenschläger and H. C. Andersen, and he is said to have referred to the finished museum saying: “Now I can die whenever it is time, because Bindesbøll has finished my tomb.”

After the meal he went to the Copenhagen Royal Theatre where he died suddenly from a heart attack.[8] He had bequeathed a great part of his fortune for the building and endowment of a museum in Copenhagen, and left instructions to fill it with all his collection of works of art and the models for all his sculptures, a very large collection, exhibited to the greatest possible advantage. Thorvaldsen is buried in the courtyard of this museum, under a bed of roses, by his own wish.


Daguerreotype of Bertel Thorvaldsen (1840), one of the first photos taken in Denmark

Bertel Thorvaldsen with the Bust of Horace Vernet, painted by Horace Vernet (1789–1863)

Thorwaldsen’s Gutenberg Denkmal in Mainz on an 1840 medal of the printing press‘ 400th anniversary.

Thorvaldsen was an outstanding representative of the Neoclassical period in sculpture. In fact, his work was often compared to that of Antonio Canova and he became the foremost artist in the field after Canova’s death in 1822. The poses and expressions of his figures are much more stiff and formal than those of Canova’s. Thorvaldsen embodied the style of classical Greek art more than the Italian artist, he believed that only through the imitation of classical art pieces could one become a truly great artist.

Motifs for his works (reliefs, statues, and busts) were drawn mostly from Greek mythology, as well as works of classic art and literature. He created portraits of important personalities, as in his statue of Pope Pius VII. Thorvaldsen’s statue of Pope Pius VII is found in the Clementine Chapel in the Vatican, for which he was the only non-Italian artist to ever have been commissioned to produce a piece. Because he was a Protestant and not a Catholic, the church did not allow him to sign his work. This led to the story of Thorvaldsen sculpting his own face on to the shoulders of the Pope, however any comparison between Thorvaldsen’s portrait and the sculpture will show that this is just a fanciful story built on some smaller similarities.[9] His works can be seen in many European countries, especially in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen, where his tomb is in the inner courtyard. Thorvaldsen’s Lion Monument (1819) is in Lucerne, Switzerland. This monument commemorates the sacrifice of more than six hundred Swiss Guards who died defending the Tuileries during the French Revolution. The monument portrays a dying lion lying across broken symbols of the French monarchy.

Thorvaldsen produced some striking and affecting statues of historic figures, including two in Warsaw, Poland: an equestrian statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski that now stands before the Presidential Palace; and the seated Nicolaus Copernicus, before the Polish Academy of Sciences building—both located on Warsaw’s Krakowskie Przedmieście. A replica of the Copernicus statue was cast in bronze and installed in 1973 on Chicago’s lakefront along Solidarity Drive in the city’s Museum Campus.[10] A statue (Gutenberg Denkmal) of Johannes Gutenberg by Thorvaldsen can be seen in Mainz, Germany.

Museums and collections[edit]

Thorvaldsens Museum

Cupid, from Thorvaldsens Museum

The Thorvaldsen Museum is the museum in CopenhagenDenmark where Bertel Thorvaldsen’s works are displayed. The museum is located on the small island of Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen next to Christiansborg Palace. Designed by Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll, this building was constructed from public collection funds in 1837. The museum displays a collection of the artist’s works in marble as well as plaster, including the original plaster models used in the making of cast bronze and marble statues and reliefs, copies of those works that are on display in museums, churches, and at other locations around the world.[11]

The museum also features Bertel Thorvaldsen’s personal collection of paintings, Greek and Roman sculptures, drawings, and prints the artist collected during his lifetime, as well as personal belongings he used in his work and everyday life.

Thorvaldsens Museum

Outside Europe, Thorvaldsen is less well known.[12] However, in 1896 an American textbook writer wrote that his statue of the resurrected Christ, commonly referred to as Thorvaldsen’s Christus (created for Vor Frue Kirke), was “considered the most perfect statue of Christ in the world.”[7] The statue has appealed to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a 3.4 m replica is on display at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is also a replica of this statue in the LDS visitor centers at the Mesa Arizona Temple, the Laie Hawaii Temple, the México City México Temple, the Los Angeles California Temple, the Portland Oregon Temple, the Washington D.C. Temple, and the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. Additionally, the LDS Church uses images of the statue in official church media, such as the Internet site

Additional replicas of the Christus include a full size replica at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland within its iconic dome,[13] and a full-sized copy in bronze at the Ben H. Powell III family plot in Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas as a memorial to the Powell’s son Rawley.

Thorvaldsen’s Christus was recreated in Lego by parishioners of a Swedish Protestant church in Västerås and unveiled on Easter Sunday 2009.[14]

Thorvaldsen’s primary mastery was his feel for the rhythm of lines and movements. Nearly all his sculptures can be viewed from any chosen angle without compromise of their impact. In addition, he had the ability to work in monumental size. Thorvaldsen’s classicism was strict; nevertheless his contemporaries saw his art as the ideal, although afterwards art took new directions.[15] A bronze copy of Thorvaldsen’s Self-Portrait stands in Central Park, New York, near the East 97 Street entrance.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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