Jason with the Golden Fleece
In an 1805 letter to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, August Wilhelm Schlegel wrote about Jason:
Antonio Canova was impressed with Thorvaldsen’s Jason when he saw it in the Danish sculptor’s studio in Rome:
“This work of this Dane is created in a new and monumental style.”
Cited in Erik Moltesen, Thorvaldsens Museum (Copenhagen: Rasmus Navers Forlag, 1938), p. 82.
Erik Moltsen explains the differences between Thorvaldsen's sculptures and Canova's as expressions of national temperament:
But besides being the first purely Neoclassical statue, complete and refined, Jason was also the first decisive expression in sculpture of that era’s distinctly Germanic interpretation of Neoclassicism. One might find it strange to think that there is anything at all Germanic to be found in this nude Greek hero and his cold, exquisite marble face; it is in the comparison of Thorvaldsen to Canova, however, that the explanation lies. We will see time and again, in what follows, how Canova and Thorvaldsen were played up against each other by their contemporaries, such that the Southerners – the romance peoples – championed the former, while the Germans and Nordics, for that matter also the English – the Germanic peoples – rallied themselves increasingly around the latter. Much of what strikes us as 'Baroque' in Canova’s work results simply from the southern European heritage of his sensibilities: his countrymen, after all, saw his work as quite convincingly classical. “Noble Simplicity and Quiet Grandeur” was hardly the Italian way. Although in other periods it had not been the Danish way either, for a German it was the indisputable motto of Germanic classicism."
Erik Moltesen, Thorvaldsens Museum. Copenhagen: Rasmus Navers Forlag, 1938, 90.
Similar Subjects by Other Artists
Underworld Painter, Jason Bringing Pelias the Golden Fleece, 4th c BCE Greece. (Louvre, Paris)