Amalienborg royal courtyard with the statue
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My kingdom for a horse

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The equestrian statue of King Frederik V has pride of place in the centre of Amalienborg Slotsplads. It was created in 1753-74 by French sculptor Jacques François Joseph Saly (1717-1776). The project was initiated by King Frederik V but the Danish Asiatic Company…

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French sculptor at the centre of Danish cultural boom

Time / Periode 1754
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During the reign of King Frederik V, Denmark and Norway underwent an extraordinary cultural and industrial boom. The King himself, was no great shake as a ruler, but his Lord Chamberlain – one Count Molkte – launched many initiatives that helped to shape Denmark as a cultural nation. One of Moltke's ideas was to import the French sculptor Jacques-François Saly (1717-1776) to Denmark. Commissioned to sculpt a monument to mark the centenary of the introduction of absolute monarchy, Saly created the famous equestrian statue of King Frederik V which is located in the then new district of Frederiksstaden. More than a decade after work commenced, the great plaster model was finally shown to the public at the sculptor's grand studio, which had been purpose-built in the Charlottenborg Palace garden. The casting of the bronze in the former cannon foundry was a spectacular event in itself, with 300 specially invited guests and a general public looking on as the 22-ton statue was hauled a good way across the city by 200 merchant navy men. Alongside his work on the equestrian statute, Saly acted as the first director proper of what is now the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, a French-inspired institution established in 1754 by the King on the encouragement of Count Moltke.

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World-class art at what cost?

When Saly was invited to Denmark, no one could have imagined that a statue of a horse and rider…

French sculptor at the centre of Danish cultural boom

During the reign of King Frederik V, Denmark and Norway underwent an extraordinary cultural and…

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