Johann Gutenberg, 1833-1834
Executed in Rome by H.W. Bissen after Thorvaldsen's original plaster model and under Thorvaldsen's direction and supervision
Plaster. 348,5 cm
Inventory number: A114
Works, relating to this work: Thorvaldsen, Johann Gutenberg, 1837, bronze cast, Gutenbergplatz, Mainz, GermanyEnlarge photo
Modelled 1833/34 by H.W. Bissen in accordance with Thorvaldsen’s instructions and erected in bronze in Mainz in 1837. Book printing with single types that can freely be put together was originally a Chinese invention. In a European context it was the goldsmith Gutenberg, born in Mainz and spending most of his life there, who is attributed with the honour of being the father of printing. The oldest surviving and datable European book, printed with loose types, is the Gutenberg Bible from c. 1454. This is what Gutenberg is here seen holding. He has some types in his other hand.