Busts of Prince Christian (VIII) Frederik and Princess Caroline Amalie
In the years 1819 to 1822 the heirs to the throne undertook lengthy travels abroad, during which they commissioned the bronze figures for The Golden Tableau from Bertel Thorvaldsen’s workshop while staying in Rome. They celebrated Christmas with the sculptor in Rome in 1820, and a few weeks later Thorvaldsen modelled these busts of the heirs to the throne.
The busts were moved from Rosenborg in 2015 in connection with the inauguration of The Golden Tableau in the Appartement Hall. It can be argued that they are better located here in the palace where Christian VIII and Queen Caroline Amalie lived and reigned.
These fig leaves were made in order to make the male figures in The Golden Tableau more respectable. They were presumably made shortly after the bronze figures were delivered in the mid-1820s, as other statues by Thorvaldsen were also given fig leaves around this time. According to the accompanying instructions the fig leaves should be attached to figures with sewing thread.
Jason with the Golden Fleece
The Golden Tableau comprises eleven miniatures of classical statues, of which ten are by Bertel Thorvaldsen, and the eleventh by his pupil, Pietro Tenerani. Jason with the Golden Fleece from 1803 was Thorvaldsen’s breakthrough work, which made it possible for him to establish himself as an artist in Rome after his studies. Like the other bronze copies, it was modelled by Pietro Galli at the beginning of the 1820s and cast in bronze by Wilhelm Hopfgarten. The figure expresses heroism and masculine strength, which is a little curious for a statue of Jason. In ancient mythology Jason was the son of a king who had been ousted, and in order to regain his father’s throne he had to embark on a perilous journey to capture a golden ram’s fleece, which he succeeded in doing with the help of Medea, the daughter of a king who was a sorceress. But because he was dependent upon the help of a woman Jason wasn’t seen as a particularly heroic figure, which he has clearly become in Thorvaldsen’s interpretation.
Jewel of Pearl, Gold, and Precious Stones
The pendant was a present to Princess Caroline Amalie from the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s friend, Count Sommariva. The jewel is composed of a pearl mounted with gold and represents a rabbit with a diamond and a ruby as eyes. During the baroque, unusually formed pearls were seen as a gift from God. Goldsmiths were inspired by the individual pearl and freely invented a figure which was supplemented with gold and often with precious stones. Several examples of this tradition can be seen in The Green Cabinet at Rosenborg. In the 1800s the tradition was revived, and the rabbit pendant stems from this period. The present was given in 1821, when Princess Caroline Amalie and her consort Prince Christian (VIII) Frederik stayed in Rome for an extended period during a three-year journey abroad and associated with Thorvaldsen and the circle around the famous artist.