Here, Thorvaldsen is imagined as the consummate artist: wearing a workman’s robe, holding the tools of his trade, and leaning on a replica of his own sculpture, Hope. The bronze sculpture is a replica of his 1839 marble self-portrait, which is currently housed in the Thorvaldsen Museum in his native Copenhagen.
Thorvaldsen was one of the most famous and influential artists in 19th-century Europe. The life-sized Central Park sculpture was commissioned by Americans of Danish descent and dedicated in 1894, 50 years after his death. It originally stood just north of 59th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, but was later relocated to its current spot between the Reservoir and the East Meadow.