Scarab from back and base, 1801-1802
After antique Egyptian scarab
Pencil on light blue paper. Inscription ín pen and brown ink. 38/39 x 60 mm
Inventory number: D1232
The Egyptian scarab amulets were already objects of great interest at the beginning of the nineteenth century, not least because of the hieroglyphic inscriptions often found on their underside. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s close friend and mentor, the Danish archaeologist Georg Zoëga, also studied the scarabs and on his death left an unfinished study of the amulets in the Italian Cardinal Stefano Borgia’s large collection of antiquities. At Thorvaldsens Museum there is a series of drawings of scarabs which are the original models for the illustrations in Zoëga’s large work.