Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) was an internationally renowned Danish sculptor, in the Neo-Classical style, who spent most of his life in Italy. Thorvaldsen was accepted to the Royal Danish Academy of Art when he was eleven years old winning many honors and medals. He traveled to Rome and continued his education, where he made a name for himself as a sculptor had his workshop in the stables of the Palazzo Barberini
In 1803, he started work on Achilles and Briseïs his first classically themed relief. In 1804 Thorvaldsen finished Dance of the Muses at Helicon, a group statue of Cupid and Psyche and other important works such as Apollo, Bacchus og Ganymedes.
Ludwig I of Bavaria commissioned a marble statue in 1808 of Adonis which is one of the few works carved solely by Thorvaldsen’s own hand.
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.
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.