1770-1844 Copenhagen, He was a Danish/Icelandic sculptor. Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen in 1770 (according to some accounts, in 1768), the son of an Icelander who had settled in Denmark and there carried on the trade of a wood-carver. This account is disputed by some Icelanders, who claim Thorvaldsen was born in Iceland. Young Thorvaldsen attended Copenhagen's Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi), winning all the prizes including the large Gold Medal. As a consequence, he was granted a Royal stipend, enabling him to complete his studies in Rome, where he arrived 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. Thorvaldsen's first success was the model for a statue of Jason, which was highly praised by Antonio Canova, the most popular sculptor in the city. In 1803 he received the commission to execute it 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. 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.