Marmor (weiß mit hellgrauer Äderung), 181,8 x 77 x 45,5 cm
1832 durch König Ludwig I. vom Künstler erworben
Inv. Nr. WAF B 29
The life-size statue "Adonis" from Bertel Thorvaldsen shows a male figure from ancient mythology, naked and leaning on a tree-trunk. His stance takes its orientation directly from ancient Greek god depictions: The relaxed contrapposto position, the left hand resting on the hip, the head of curly hair turned to the side in half-profile bent slightly downward, all combine to create the impression of a somewhat timid and pensive young man.
Adonis, the embodiment in ancient mythology of masculine beauty, was desired by both the goddess Aphrodite and Persephone. Since both disagreed with each other, they struck an agreement: Adonis would spend two thirds of the year with Aphrodite on earth, and the rest of the time, during winter, with Persephone in the underworld. His subjection to both goddesses, as well as his worry over his approaching return to the underworld seem to be reflected in the downcast look of the young man.
The work, commissioned in 1808 and only completed in 1832 was ordered by King Ludwig I. "Adonis" sets itself apart from other works from Thorvaldsen as in fact being a work, to a large extent, from the master's own hand.