Ida Brun, 1809
Marble. 56,5 cm
Inventory number: A810
Thorvaldsen was enthusiastic about the young Ida Brun’s talent for dancing and ‘attitudes’, which he had enjoyed on several social occasions. ‘Attitudes’ were moments of immobility in the dance when the body of the dancer was fixed in postures or actions from Greek mythology and ancient artworks. Around 1800 the art of striking ‘attitudes’ was popular in intellectual and artistic circles.
The 17-year-old Ida Brun does not have the idealized, classical facial features of many of Thorvaldsen’s other portrait busts. She is beautiful, but also ordinary with her slightly large nose and projecting lower lip. If one looks more closely at her eyes, it is as if she is gazing inward. Here there is no iris curving out towards the world. Whereas her dancing was outward-oriented, physical and targeted at an audience, the bust is without a body, inward-looking and in a world of its own.
Ida Brun (1792-1857) was given a very extensive aesthetic upbringing by her mother, Friederike Brun, to enable her to become the ideal of female beauty, charm, intellect and talent. Ida had to devote herself to everything beautiful – nature in its splendour and exquisite art, and she was given the best teachers in language, music, singing, dancing and drawing. Her attitude dancing and her beautiful singing voice were much admired by her contemporaries.