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From decoration to documentation. The Helbig-Jacobsen facsimiles and their afterlife

Mette Moltesen

Résumés

The Danish industrialist and brewer Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914) became interested in Etruscan culture through his long collaboration with the German archaeologist Wolfgang Helbig (1839-1915), and he made it his project to introduce the Etruscans to the Danish public in what he named The Helbig Museum. As the unique Etruscan tomb paintings were quickly deteriorating, Jacobsen decided to sponsor a complete series of facsimiles of all Etruscan paintings. In this he followed the example of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, from whom he also took the name Glyptotek for his museum, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Helbig collected a group of painters and managed the work in Etruria while Jacobsen paid the expenses in Copenhagen. The project lasted from 1895 to 1913 and comprised sketches, tracings and facsimiles of all the then known painted tombs in Tarquinia, Chiusi, Veji, and Orvieto.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991.

1There is no doubt that the facsimile project launched by Carl Jacobsen and Wolfgang Helbig in 1895 became the most extensive of the initiatives taken to copy Etruscan tomb paintings in the nineteenth century. In fact, it involved two distinct projects, each with its particular objective. The first was to copy the depictions on the tomb walls in the correct style and colours. This project developed from an interest in using the facsimiles of Etruscan wall paintings as a decorative means of illustrating ancient painting as such, as it was the richest body of paintings preserved from the ancient Mediterranean cultures. It developed into a more scientific endeavour to document —as meticulously as possible— the actual state of the individual painting, taking into account the wear and tear and repair undergone through the centuries. The second objective which only manifested itself in the latter part of the project was to illustrate, albeit on a small scale, the complete layout of each tomb including the plan with the floor, the roof and the entrance walls. The last mentioned often suffered the most from intrusion and damp, and only in a very few cases had they ever been represented in copies.1

2The “great enterprise” as it was called lasted for nearly twenty years, from 1895 to 1913, and cost a very great deal of money. However, the seed for this endeavour had been planted well before and the initiators were two exceptional men, the Danish industrialist and collector Carl Jacobsen and the German archaeologist and classicist Wolfgang Helbig.

Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914)

  • 2 Glamann 1996.

3Carl Jacobsen was the only child of the wealthy Danish brewer Jacob Christian Jacobsen (1811-1887), a patron of the sciences and industry who had named his brewery, Carlsberg, after his young son, Carl. Born in 1842 Carl grew up to become a brewer himself, studying physics and chemistry in Denmark and, as part of his education, spending several years in England and Germany. From a very early age he showed an interest in the liberal arts and visited museums and galleries wherever he travelled, always keeping a diary in which he listed the works of art he had seen and studied.  Upon his return from abroad he started his own brewery, Ny Carlsberg (New Carlsberg), and set up house near his brewery on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Carl Jacobsen became one of the great industrialists of the late nineteenth century and a collector of ancient art on a grand scale.2

  • 3 Moltesen 2012, p. 21, fig. 19.

4In 1882 Jacobsen opened his small collection of sculpture, the Glyptotek, at Carlsberg, to the public. It was merely a winter garden linked to his home and containing some contemporary sculptures by French artists and some works of ancient art: the so-called Casali sarcophagus, and a handful of portrait busts from the desert oasis of Palmyra.3

Wolfgang Helbig (1839-1915)

  • 4 Helbig 1911; Lullies – Schiering 1988, p. 71-72.

5Wolfgang Helbig was born in Dresden in Saxony where his father was a high-school principal. He studied classics at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn and having obtained his doctorate he went to Rome as a Fellow of the Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica, which at the time was situated on the Capitoline Hill. In 1865, he became vice-director of the Institute where he published extensively on archaeological subjects such as the prehistory of the Po Valley, Etruscan tombs, Athenian knights and Pompeian wall paintings.4

Bringing the Etruscans to the North

61887 was to be a crucial year for both men, and the beginning of a very fruitful collaboration. Helbig left the German Institute and settled down as an agent for ancient art, and Carl Jacobsen became his own master after his somewhat domineering father had died. The collaboration between the two, the wealthy industrialist who wanted to educate his fellow countrymen and the learned German scholar, became very successful, and Helbig was instrumental in acquiring more than 900 works of ancient art for Carl Jacobsen’s Glyptotek. For more than 25 years Helbig received a stipend of 5000 francs a year whether or not there were any acquisitions.5 Their collaboration can be followed week by week through the extensive correspondence which is kept in the archive of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.6

  • 7 Sarcophagus from Vulci, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek HIN 57, Moltesen – Nielsen 1996, p. 43-47, cat. 7.
  • 8 Jacobsen 1911 is the first catalogue solely to the Helbig Museum.

7The very first work acquired from Helbig was an Etruscan tufa sarcophagus from Vulci and through Helbig Jacobsen became completely fascinated by the Etruscan world and its art. He realised that the Etruscan culture was the basis for the later Roman culture, in the same way as the Archaic Greek was a precursor of the Classical period.7 And though Jacobsen regarded the Etruscan artefacts as artistically inferior to the Greek and Roman works and representing cultural history rather than fine art, he took advantage of Helbig’s outstanding knowledge of the Early Roman and Etruscan world, thereby assembling a collection of Etruscan works of many kinds.8 That his ideas also involved examples of Etruscan painting is evident from a letter which he wrote to Helbig:

  • 9 All translations from German and Danish are my own. «Now I have found a name for the Etruscan coll (...)

Der Name für die etrurischen Sammlung habe ich jetzt gefunden. Das “Helbig Museum” in der NCG. Ich selber kann ja dieses Monument nicht zusammenbringen, es wird im schönsten Sinne des Wortes Ihr Monument sein.
Gegründet den 5. October 1891 (Morgens 8 Uhr)!
Es soll ein möglichst instructive Sammlung sein die die etrurische Cultur vom ersten Anfange des (Stein) Broncealters bis den letzten Stufen Ihrer Entwicklung erleuchtet.
Um recht lehrreich zu sein meine Ich dass wir uns Copien von Wandgemälden verschaffen müssen und vielleicht sogar ein Paar Abgüsse der wesentlichsten Broncestatuen.9

  • 10 Jacobsen 1906, p. 24; Moltesen 2012, p. 26.
  • 11 Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 21-29.

8Perhaps Jacobsen was also influenced by his great ideal and model, King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786-1868), from whom he had also copied the name Glyptotek for his own museum.10 King Ludwig had copies made of Etruscan paintings to decorate the walls of the gallery housing his vase collection, the Pinakothek in Munich. These paintings were the work of the Italian painter Carlo Ruspi who in the years between 1832-1835 had made detailed drawings of the tombs in Tarquinia, as preliminaries for these wall paintings as well as for a similar series for the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in the Vatican.11

9Jacobsen, who as a brewer often went to Munich on business, would have admired these paintings and wished to imitate them on the walls of his own museum.

Wall paintings

10In 1892 Jacobsen visited Tarquinia with Helbig as his guide. Helbig was, at the time, the honorary Ispettore for the Soprintendenza and as such knew all there was to know about the tombs and their painted walls. But he was also familiar with the guards responsible for opening the tombs to visitors and their habits. Many of the tombs he had published himself shortly after their discovery, and he was well aware of the sad condition into which several of them had fallen. These signs of decline and destruction made a great impression on Jacobsen who felt that something had to be done.

11Even though the Etruscan collection in the Glyptotek grew week by week with the acquisitions of sarcophagi, cinerary urns and terracottas, Jacobsen was impatient and wanted more. In comparison to Greek and Roman art works the Etruscan objects were cheap and in 1892 Jacobsen complained that Helbig had not even been able to spend the 20.000 francs he had set aside for the Helbig Museum. He therefore suggested that the money could be used for the making of copies of the wall paintings in the Etruscan tombs.

  • 12 Jacobsen was in Rome from March 25th to June 2nd together with his friend, the head of the Danish (...)

12It was, however, only after Jacobsen’s second visit to Rome and Etruria in 1895 that the project got underway.12 In Rome he would probably have had the chance to meet the painter Gregorio Mariani to whom Helbig had given the task of painting the first copies for Jacobsen.

  • 13 See Capobianco – Unger in this dossier.
  • 14 Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 82, 84, fig. 29-30; Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 43-36, cat.  (...)
  • 15 Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 233-235, fig. 3, 5, 6.
  • 16 Weber-Lehmann 2017, p. 152; Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 43, cat. 1.

13Mariani had worked for the German Archaeological Institute in Rome and was therefore well known to Helbig13. In 1885 he had made copies of the Tomba della Caccia e Pesca for publication in the Monumenti inediti and eleven years later he was able to use these drawings as the basis for the facsimiles for Jacobsen.14 Although some restorations are shown, the overall impression is that the individual figures have been filled in with paint and that the background has been evened out and lightened to a uniform cream colour. This is especially evident when compared with the later watercolours which display a much more realistic rendition of the actual condition of the paintings.15 It has recently been documented that these watercolours were made in 1900 for a set of facsimiles for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and later still served as sketches for the fair copy of the tomb made for Jacobsen in 1908.16

  • 17 Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek HIN 95, 96, 97, 98, Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 64-66, cat. 26-29.
  • 18 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 93-95, cat. 67-70.

14Mariani worked from Carlo Ruspi’s copies in the Vatican and made copies of the paintings of the Tomba del Triclinio. These copies represented the walls in a restored state as if they were new and were cold and academic in style.17 They were, in fact, copies of copies. The next facsimile made for Jacobsen was the copy of the back wall in the Tomba dei Vasi Dipinti by the Swiss painter, Heinrich Wüscher-Becchi, who worked in the tomb itself.18 Though somewhat uniform in colour this painting pleased Jacobsen so much when it arrived in 1895 that he wrote:

  • 19 «The copy of the Etruscan fresco has arrived safely and I find it so good that it seems to me impe (...)

Die Copi nach dem etrur. Fresko ist glücklich angekommen, und scheint mir so vortrefflich zu sein, dass der Gedanke eine grosse Sammlung von Copien nach etrur. Fresken für das Helb. Mus. zu sammeln sehr aufdringend wird.
Warum nicht das Helbig Musaeum die Stelle “par excellence” für Copien nach etrur. Fresken zu machen.
Wir müssen daran denken das Helbig Musaeum nicht nur wissenschaftlich hervorragend zu machen. Das Helbig Musaeum soll auch für das gebildete Publicum ein Lieblingsstück sein. Und ich bin ganz gewiss dass eine reiche Sammlung von Copien nach den besten etrur. Fresken im hohen Grade im Geschmack der gebildeten Publicum fallen wird.19

15Here we see that Jacobsen was very much concerned not only about making his museum scientifically excellent, but also, as a modern museum director, he cared about the impact that the objects would make on the visitors and wished to educate the Danish public (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 – The Helbig Museum in its own hall inaugurated in 1896 with Helbig’s bust in pride of place and the facsimiles of the Tomba del Triclinio on the walls.

Fig. 1 – The Helbig Museum in its own hall inaugurated in 1896 with Helbig’s bust in pride of place and the facsimiles of the Tomba del Triclinio on the walls.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

  • 20 On Alessandro Morani’s work, see also in this dossier Capoferro.
  • 21 These receipts are in the archive of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. For the group of painters see Cap (...)
  • 22 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 38-40.

16From 1897 it was the painter Alessandro Morani, Helbig’s new son-in-law, who took over the project of copying the tomb paintings20. He formed a group of young painters, and as their leader arranged the work and signed the receipts for the payments.21 However, he did not sign in his real name, but that of Alessandro Colonelli. For some reason Helbig never once mentioned to Jacobsen that his son-in-law was involved in the project, and it is due to Cornelia Weber Lehmann’s perspicacity that his involvement was revealed.22 Surely Jacobsen on his many visits to Rome, where he often dined with Helbig and his family at Villa Lante, must have known who the painter hiding behind the pseudonym was, and surely he had also visited Morani and the painters in their studio.

  • 23 «Let us save what can be saved and begin with the most important tombs and continue as long as you (...)
  • 24 Helbig to Jacobsen June 27th 1897; Moltesen 2012, p. 226.

17It is interesting that it was the businessman Jacobsen who realised the importance of rescuing the paintings for eternity from their current condition: «Lass uns retten was noch zu retten ist. Fangen wir mit den wichtigsten an und fahren wir fort solange Ihre Kräfte, meine Fonds und die Tüchtigkeit der Copisten aushalten kann».23 Helbig admitted that he had been very slow to realise the consequences of the further deterioration of the tombs.24

  • 25 Moscioni’s 15.700 glass plates are in the fototeca of the Vatican Museums and are in the process o (...)
  • 26 228 of these unique glass plates (21 × 27 cm) are in the photo collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyp (...)

18It became evident to Colonelli/Morani that photographs of the walls would be invaluable for the painters in order to represent the originals as closely as possible, and he had the Roman photographer Romualdo Moscioni start a series of prospects of the tomb walls.25 Three years later Jacobsen asked Helbig to buy prints of them all and also supplied the painters with a large camera with which they could take close-ups of the individual figures.26

19Under the guidance of Helbig, Morani and his équipe developed a method of copying the tomb paintings in the most painstakingly thorough way. First, they studied the old publications in the Monumenti inediti, then they went to the tomb itself and made tracings of the contours on oiled paper and colour sketches of the walls, and with these preliminary studies and the photographs, they went back to the studio and transferred the tracings onto canvas and painted the motifs in tempera according to the colour sketches. Helbig followed every step of the work closely and held discussions with the painters along the way, before finally returning to the tombs and checking the accuracy of their work. This makes these copies the most exact and reliable for the time in which they were made.

20In the years 1897 to 1900 the facsimiles continued to arrive in Copenhagen and each time Jacobsen would scrutinize the results. In his letters to Helbig we can follow his astute reactions and comments about details in the paintings that he did not find to be consistent with the older publications. We may wonder how Jacobsen as a very busy industrialist had sufficient time, energy and knowledge to go into such detail with the paintings. But recently a notebook came to light in which Carl Jacobsen kept notes on his visits to the individual tombs and referred to the facsimiles he acquired, making remarks on every single one.

  • 27 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 89-92, cat. 61-69.
  • 28 Letter from Morani to his wife November 5th 1907, cited in Capoferro 2017, p. 141. The letter is i (...)

21One of the first tombs to be copied was the Tomba dell’Orco.27 Here Jacobsen commented negatively on the representation in the corner of the right wall of Orco II —he felt that the painter had misunderstood the demon behind Theseus whom he thought was wearing a costume that looked like a suit of medieval armour and not rendered as in the Monumenti inediti plate, and he also complained that the Lady Velia was not as «soulful» as in the publication. To this, Helbig responded that in this case the painter was correct and the Monumenti inediti incorrect, and that that could be proven by a photograph. In any case, for the following Christmas the painters made a new facsimile for him of Lady Velia with more accurate colours —although she does not seem to be soulful. Morani must have felt a special relationship to the representation of Velia, for many years later when he returned to Tarquinia he relates that he went to take her flowers!28

22It also became a turning point for Jacobsen when he realized the enormous importance of copying not only the condition of the ancient paintings but also the nature of the damage, the repairs in cement, barbed wire, nails and all, as documentation of a certain time in the history of the painting.

23When the first facsimiles arrived, Jacobsen thought there would be room for twenty large pictures in the so-called Helbig Museum. As time went by, he became worried that these large canvases took up too much space and were difficult to exhibit. Soon he also had to hang them in other galleries —and here, in the long hall of Roman portraits, we see the Tomba François and the back wall of the Tomba delle Leonesse admired by a lady (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 – The Roman gallery in the old Glyptotek at Carlsberg ca. 1905.

Fig. 2 – The Roman gallery in the old Glyptotek at Carlsberg ca. 1905.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

24Jacobsen had the idea, which we today would find controversial, that «all ladies are more or less archaeologists and the understanding of archaeological matters is infinitely more widespread (among them) than the understanding of fine art».

25In 1905 the old museum at Carlsberg was full to bursting, although the contemporary sculptures and paintings had already been moved to a new museum in Copenhagen in 1897. In 1906 a second connecting building was inaugurated, designed to house the collections of ancient art and the Helbig Museum, where there would be room for many more facsimiles (fig. 3).

Fig. 3 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, installing the Etruscan Collection 1905-1906.

Fig. 3 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, installing the Etruscan Collection 1905-1906.

On the right the back wall, left wall and entrance wall of the first set of facsimiles of the Tomba del Triclinio, and on the far back wall the two sides of the entrance wall from the more recent set.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

  • 29 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, 105-108, cats. 81-85.
  • 30 Capoferro 2017, p. 89, has been able to identify this painter with Oreste Mancinelli.

26The Tomba delle Bighe is one of the largest and most handsomely decorated of the Tarquinian tombs.29 While working in this tomb the painter Mancinelli invented a «magic liquid» a solution of turpentine which when applied to the miscoloured paintings made the design stand out more clearly.30 This method was only used once but meant that there were details in these pictures that have not been in evidence since. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that the treatment damaged the paintings in the long run. Helbig regarded the paintings in the Tomba delle Bighe as the most outstanding achievements of Etruscan painting.

  • 31 In 1898 the Museum in Bonn asked permission to have a copy made of the Tomba del Barone. For the c (...)

27Already in 1897 when Helbig had sent one of Morani’s watercolours to Jacobsen for his approval, he was so taken with its beauty and liveliness that he wished to keep it and not send it back, and later he asked if he could buy all the watercolours. This, however, was not an option, as Morani and his painters wished to be able to use the sketches and tracings to make other series of paintings for other museums: this became the case with the paintings in Bonn, Boston and New York.31

28In 1903 nearly all the painted tombs in Tarquinia that were known at the time had been copied and the painters were supposed to start on the tombs in Chiusi. This, however, was for various reasons —one of them being the election of a new mayor— postponed until 1907.

  • 32 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann1991, p. 20-21; Moltesen 2017.
  • 33 Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 307, fig. 146.
  • 34 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 128-29 cat. 110; Moltesen2017, p. 134-136, fig. 6.

29In late 1907 Morani was in Chiusi in order to copy the two tombs there, the Tomba della Scimmia and the Tomba del Colle Casuccini, which had been inaccessible for years and which were the last to be copied.32 As the ground plan of the Tomba della Scimmia was much more complicated than the plans of the Tarquinian tombs, Morani made a plan of the floor and a reproduction of the ceiling.33 A watercolour in small scale of floor plan, ceiling and a geometric section of the central chamber plus some details of the figures was made on paper. This was to be the first «fair copy», as we have chosen to call them, of an entire tomb.34

30This gave Jacobsen the idea of having similar watercolours made of the tombs in Tarquinia showing the floor plan, ceiling and all the walls in small scale. This made it necessary for the painters to return to Tarquinia and paint the missing walls. These designs in 1:10 and 1:20, on paper of 78 × 113 cm, were made of all the painted tombs in Tarquinia. By 1913 all the known painted tombs had been copied in facsimile as well as in watercolours.

31The facsimile project had been immensely expensive; we have estimated that it had cost Jacobsen about 50.000 francs in all and had given the painters an expertise which they naturally were able to use elsewhere.

32During this period Jacobsen had much less money to spend. In 1902 his brewery was taken over by the Carlsberg Foundation and he himself was left with only a salary where he previously had been the sole owner of the expanding beer production business. Therefore, at some point in 1908, Jacobsen decided that the copying of the tombs had to be brought to an end due to lack of funds.

  • 35 Bernini 2017.

33This of course was very inconvenient for Morani who was in the midst of making the sketches for the final fair copies. And, as it has become evident, he was perhaps also in the process of moving to Palermo where he became Principal of the School of Industrial Art.35 Fortunately, however, Helbig was able to convince Jacobsen to see the project through after all.

The copies in use

  • 36 Poulsen 1927, p. 156.

34The Helbig Museum was very popular among the museum visitors and when all the fair copies had arrived Jacobsen had a contraption made where the framed fair copies were arranged so that the visitor could leaf through them as through a picture book. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to find any images of this device.36

35The Danish archaeologist, Frederik Poulsen (1876-1950), became attached to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek as Curator of Ancient Art in 1911, and was made director of the museum in 1926. In his first years one of his duties was to give guided tours and, in particular, to make the Etruscans more relevant to his audience. And in this respect, naturally the facsimiles were very useful.

36That Poulsen shared Jacobsen’s interest in Etruscan tomb painting becomes evident from a letter sent by him to Jacobsen from Strassbourg on 25th of April 1911:

  • 37 The letter is in Danish.

Today I have looked through the old drawings of the Etruscan chamber tombs in the Institute of Archaeology here, and can inform you which of these original drawings, in my view, could have any significance. I may add that it would not be worthwhile to have them photographed; the colours are everything and in the pencil sketches of form and plan the line is too thin to appear in a photograph. They must be reproduced in colour, and Professor Winter would be willing to find a clever copyist.37

  • 38 For these copies see Weber-Lehmann – Lehmann, in Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 16-19. Apparently (...)

37The sketches in question were the drawings by Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, August Kestner and Joseph Thürmer which they had made in the 1820s when several of the finest tombs were discovered.38  Thereupon, Poulsen goes through all the tomb drawings, one by one, noting where they differ from the Carlsberg facsimiles. Needless to say, Jacobsen thought he had paid enough for copies and wanted no more.

  • 39 Jacobsen 1911, p. 77-133.
  • 40 Helbig 1911.

38Carl Jacobsen wished to publish the Etruscan material himself and in a catalogue of the Etruscan collection in 1911 he wrote texts for all the facsimiles.39 He noted in particular how the archaic paintings were important because they give an impression of the lost ancient Greek paintings, but also that there seems to have been a style of painting which is more truly Etruscan. In the very same catalogue Wolfgang Helbig’s autobiography appeared.40 The catalogue was translated into German and updated several times with the addition of newly acquired objects and new references.

  • 41 Weege 1921; Poulsen 1927.

39Frederik Poulsen worked with the Etruscan paintings from a stylistic point of view, comparing them with artefacts in other media such as ceramics and sculpture but lamenting the fact that there were still no proper illustrations in colour to refer to. His book on Etruscan painting appeared first in Danish in 1920, in English in 1922, and in German in 1927: in this last edition he was able to refer to Fritz Weege’s book from 1921 which used some of the photographs taken by Morani’s painters.41

  • 42 Gjødesen 1946, p. 29.
  • 43 As late as in 1989-1990 the facsimiles were un-rolled, restored and framed.
  • 44 The Royal Casts Collection was at the time installed in the lower galleries of the Danish National (...)

40After the war when parts of the Glyptotek collections had been evacuated, the sculpture and painting galleries were filled first and it took some time before the Etruscan collection was re-installed and updated, only opening to the public in 1966 (fig. 4). Before that Mogens Gjødesen, the curator at the time, showed renewed interest in the Etruscan paintings and published an article on the Helbig-Jacobsen project.42 Times had changed and the fashion of the day was very simple and typically Scandinavian in style: the handsome patterned terrazzo floors were covered in beech parquet and the background in the showcases was covered in hessian. There was a reluctance to mix original ancient works with copies. Copies were no longer viewed positively and just as most of the restorations on the sculptures were removed only very few facsimiles found favour with the new direction and were on view; most were in storage.43 In his article Gjødesen wrote: «In order to put things straight one should prefer to keep them [the facsimiles] easily accessible in a study magazine, or is it perhaps preferable that they at some time or other find their natural place together with and as a livening supplement to the reproductions in the plaster cast collection».44
But of course in the same period the Royal Casts Collection was also consigned to storage!

Fig. 4 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Etruscan collection 1968.

Fig. 4 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Etruscan collection 1968.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Exhibition

  • 45 A coloured publication more like a weekly magazine than a real catalogue followed the exhibition i (...)
  • 46 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, fig. 1.

41In 1982 a large exhibition held in Brede outside Copenhagen was called The World of the Etruscans and here the three collections of antiquities, those of the Glyptotek, the Thorvaldsen Museum and the Department of Antiquities of the National Museum in Copenhagen, combined in presenting a more popular mode of displaying the Etruscan artefacts in order to reach a much larger audience.45 There were small workshops, a temple, a row of tombs à la Orvieto, and the Tomba delle Iscrizioni was rebuilt with a copy of the roof so it could be entered by the public (fig. 5).46

Fig. 5 – Reconstruction of the Tomba delle Iscrizioni in the exhibition The World of the Etruscans at Brede outside Copenhagen 1982.

Fig. 5 – Reconstruction of the Tomba delle Iscrizioni in the exhibition The World of the Etruscans at Brede outside Copenhagen 1982.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

  • 47 Moltesen 2012, p. 231, fig. 205.

42The centenary of the collaboration between the «perfect partners» Jacobsen and Helbig was celebrated in 1987 with the exhibition Wolfgang Helbig where a reconstruction of the Helbig Museum was set up (fig. 6).47 After that it became evident that these facsimiles were of great importance and they were taken out of storage and restored, and in some instances, even mounted on new canvas.

  • 48 The German edition of the catalogue was somewhat altered from the original in Danish and English: (...)

43With the professional help and support of Cornelia Weber-Lehmann it was possible to stage a major exhibition at the Glyptotek in 1991. Here many of the facsimiles and examples of the tracings and watercolour sketches for them, kindly lent to us by the Swedish Institute in Rome, as well as the fair copies were shown together for the first time. For this exhibition the catalogue of the entire series of facsimiles and preparatory material was published by C. Weber-Lehmann and the author constituting the first volume of the series of catalogues of the Glyptotek. This exhibition was later presented in Stendal, Ütersen, and Altenburg in Germany and later in Basel in Switzerland.48

Fig. 6 – Reconstruction of the Helbig Museum in the exhibition Wolfgang Helbig Brygger Jacobsens Agent i Rom (1887-1914) at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 1987.

Fig. 6 – Reconstruction of the Helbig Museum in the exhibition Wolfgang Helbig Brygger Jacobsens Agent i Rom (1887-1914) at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 1987.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

44Since then most of the facsimiles have been in storage again but in 2006 a new installation of the Etruscan collection, now enlarged with objects from Southern Italy, Sicily and the Near East and renamed The Ancient Mediterranean was inaugurated in the Glyptotek. Here a few facsimiles were used as counterparts in a chronologically evolving story of influences crossing the Mediterranean, the Oriental style represented by the Tomba Campana, the Early Archaic by the Tomba degli Auguri and the Late Archaic period by the Tomba della Scimmia di Chiusi (fig. 7). At the same time some other, smaller facsimiles were used in a more decorative way in corridors and stairwells. But the fair copies so important for the understanding of the architecture of the tombs are not normally accessible.

Fig. 7 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Mediterranean Horizon 2006. Facsmile of the Tomba della Scimmia as background for an installation of Late Archaic Etruscan material.

Fig. 7 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Mediterranean Horizon 2006. Facsmile of the Tomba della Scimmia as background for an installation of Late Archaic Etruscan material.

Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

45After nearly twenty years of silence it has been interesting and enlightening to experience the recent renewed interest in the Jacobsen/Helbig project and to be involved in the exhibition L’Etruria di Alessandro Morani hosted by the Swedish Institute in Rome at the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica where it was possible for an Italian audience, for the first time, to see these marvellous watercolours, which have previously been regarded primarily as the basis for the facsimiles, but which are, in fact, the original masterpieces. Here the freshness of the encounter between painter and object comes clearly to the fore and the skill of the individual painter is evident. We must remember that these accomplished painters were trained at the School of Industrial Design and skilled in the decorative arts, and could paint in the style of Pinturicchio one day and Raphael the next, and in between they executed decorative works in the Liberty style of their time. Though nowadays excellent colour photographs can be made of the tomb paintings, even showing them in 3D, no one will ever be able to copy them as accurately any more. And as a documentation of their condition in the years around 1900 they are invaluable.

  • 49 Marzullo 2016 e 2017.

46The scientific study of the facsimiles started with the work on the Ruspi copies by Horst Blanck and Cornelia Weber-Lehmann in 1987 and continued with the exhibition and catalogue for the series in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in 1991, and the following year in Germany, but for many years the subject has been taken more or less off the board. It is therefore fascinating to experience the renewed interest which has manifested itself not only in the exhibition and publications of the Morani watercolours but also in the publication on the project of facsimiles and drawings by Guido Gatti in Florence by Lucrezia Cuniglio, Natacha Lubtchansky and Susanna Sarti, and finally the magisterial publications by Matilde Marzullo49 of all the different series of copies of the Etruscan tomb paintings with illustrations making it possible for the first time to compare the copies of every single wall of every single tomb.

47It is evident that there is an awareness that even though some of the Etruscan tombs have been protected in a way that they can be visited by the public and colour photography is accessible to everybody, the old hand-made copies of the paintings will still have an allure for the public as well as an importance for the serious study of ancient painting.

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Bibliographie

Bernini 2017 = R. Bernini, Morani e l’insegnamento: il caso della Regia Scuola d’Arte applicate all’Industria di Palermo (1908-1922), in Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 19-26.

Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987 = H. Blanck, C. Weber-Lehmann, Malerei der Etrusker in Zeichnungen des 19. Jahrhunderts, Mainz am Rhein, 1987.

Capoferro – Renzetti 2017 = A. Capoferro, S. Renzetti (a cura di), L’Etruria di Alessandro Morani, Riproduzioni di pitture etrusche dalle collezioni dell’Istituto Svedese di Studi Classici a Roma, Rome, 2017.

Cuniglio – Lubtchansky – Sarti 2017 = L. Cuniglio, N. Lubtchansky, S. Sarti (a cura di), Dipingere L’Etruria. Le riproduzioni delle pitture etrusche di Augusto Guido Gatti, Venosa, 2017.

Gjødesen 1946 = M. Gjødesen, Vægmalerierne i Etruriens Kammergrave, in Meddelelser fra Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 3, 1946, p. 3-29.

Glamann 1996 = K. Glamann, Beer and Marble, Carl Jacobsen of Ny Carlsberg, Copenhagen, 1996.

Helbig 1911 = W. Helbig, Eine Skizze meines wissenschaftlichen Bildungsganges, in Jacobsen 1911, III-XVI.

Jacobsen 1906 = C. Jacobsen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteks Tilblivelse (The Birth of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek), Copenhagen, 1906.

Jacobsen 1911 = C. Jacobsen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Helbig Museet, Fortegnelse over Kunstværkerne, Copenhagen, 1911.

Lullies – Schiering 1988 = R. Lullies, W. Schiering, Archäologenbildnisse Porträt und Kurzbiographien von klassischen Archäologen deutscher Sprache, Mainz am Rhein, 1988.

Marzullo 2016 = M. Marzullo, Grotte cornetane. Materiali e apparato critico per lo studio delle tombe dipinte di Tarquinia, 2 voll., Milan, 2016.

Marzullo 2017 = M. Marzullo, Spazi sepolti e dimensioni dipinte nelle tombe etrusche di Tarquinia, Milan, 2017.

Moltesen 2011 = M. Moltesen, Wolfgang Helbig e la Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, in Örmä – Sandberg 2011, p. 69-79.

Moltesen 2012 = M. Moltesen, Perfect partners: The collaboration between Carl Jacobsen and his agent in Rome Wolfgang Helbig in the formation of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek 1887-1914, Copenhagen, 2012.

Moltesen 2017 = M. Moltesen, Alessandro Morani e le “belle copie” delle pitture funerarie etrusche di Chiusi e Tarquinia, in Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 129-145.

Moltesen – Nielsen 1996 = M. Moltesen, M. Nielsen (eds.), NCGCatalogue, Etruria and Central Italy 450 -30 BC, Copenhagen, 1996.

Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991 = M. Moltesen, C. Weber-Lehmann, NCGCatalogue, Copies of Etruscan Tomb Paintings in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1991.

Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1992 = M. Moltesen, C. Weber-Lehmann, Etruskische Grabmalerei Facsimiles und Aquarelle, Mainz am Rhein, 1992.

Örmä – Sandberg 2011 = S. Örmä, K. Sandberg (eds.), Wolfgang Helbig e la scienza dell’antichità del suo tempo, Rome, 2011.

Poulsen 1922 = F. Poulsen, Etruscan Tomb Painting, Oxford, 1922.

Poulsen 1927 = F. Poulsen, Katalog des etruskischen Museums (Helbig Museum) der Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1927.

Weber-Lehmann – Lehmann 1987 = C. Weber-Lehmann, H. Lehmann, Die Zeichnungen aus dem Jahrzehnt 1825 bis 1835, in Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 16-41.

Weber-Lehmann 2011= C. Weber-Lehmann, Die etruskischen Grabmalereien in Leben und Werk Wolfgang Helbigs, in Örmä – Sandberg 2011.

Weber-Lehmann 2017 = C. Weber-Lehmann, I facsimile di Boston e i materiali preparatori nella collezione Morani, in Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 147-152.

Weege 1921 = F. Weege, Etruskische Malerei, Halle,1921.

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Notes

1 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991.

2 Glamann 1996.

3 Moltesen 2012, p. 21, fig. 19.

4 Helbig 1911; Lullies – Schiering 1988, p. 71-72.

5 Moltesen 2012, p. 21-32.

6 The correspondence is being digitized and will be accessible at http://www.ny-carlsbergfondet.dk/da/carl-jacobsens-brevarkiv (15.10.2018)

7 Sarcophagus from Vulci, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek HIN 57, Moltesen – Nielsen 1996, p. 43-47, cat. 7.

8 Jacobsen 1911 is the first catalogue solely to the Helbig Museum.

9 All translations from German and Danish are my own. «Now I have found a name for the Etruscan collection: the Helbig Museum in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. I myself cannot create this monument, it will be, in the best sense of the word, your monument. Founded on the 5th of October 1891 at 8 o’clock in the morning. As far as possible it is to be a didactic collection illustrating Etruscan culture from its early beginnings in the (stone) Bronze age until the latest phase of its development. In order for it to be really instructive I am of the opinion that we should get copies of the wall paintings and perhaps casts of the principal bronze statues».

10 Jacobsen 1906, p. 24; Moltesen 2012, p. 26.

11 Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 21-29.

12 Jacobsen was in Rome from March 25th to June 2nd together with his friend, the head of the Danish Ministry of Culture, Andreas Weiss.

13 See Capobianco – Unger in this dossier.

14 Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 82, 84, fig. 29-30; Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 43-36, cat. 1-5; and also Capobianco – Unger in this dossier.

15 Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 233-235, fig. 3, 5, 6.

16 Weber-Lehmann 2017, p. 152; Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 43, cat. 1.

17 Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek HIN 95, 96, 97, 98, Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 64-66, cat. 26-29.

18 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 93-95, cat. 67-70.

19 «The copy of the Etruscan fresco has arrived safely and I find it so good that it seems to me imperative that a large collection of copies of Etruscan tomb paintings should be created for the Helbig Museum. Why not make the Helbig Museum the place par excellence for the study of Etruscan frescoes? We should make the Helbig Museum scientifically excellent, but also a favourite haunt of the educated public. And I am convinced that a large collection of copies of the best Etruscan frescoes will please the educated public very much». Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 143.

20 On Alessandro Morani’s work, see also in this dossier Capoferro.

21 These receipts are in the archive of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. For the group of painters see Capoferro 2017 and by the same author in this volume.

22 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 38-40.

23 «Let us save what can be saved and begin with the most important tombs and continue as long as your energy, my funds, and the painters’ skills last».

24 Helbig to Jacobsen June 27th 1897; Moltesen 2012, p. 226.

25 Moscioni’s 15.700 glass plates are in the fototeca of the Vatican Museums and are in the process of being digitized.

26 228 of these unique glass plates (21 × 27 cm) are in the photo collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

27 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 89-92, cat. 61-69.

28 Letter from Morani to his wife November 5th 1907, cited in Capoferro 2017, p. 141. The letter is in the Finnish State Archive.

29 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, 105-108, cats. 81-85.

30 Capoferro 2017, p. 89, has been able to identify this painter with Oreste Mancinelli.

31 In 1898 the Museum in Bonn asked permission to have a copy made of the Tomba del Barone. For the copies for Boston see Weber-Lehmann 2017.

32 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 20-21; Moltesen 2017.

33 Capoferro – Renzetti 2017, p. 307, fig. 146.

34 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, p. 128-29 cat. 110; Moltesen 2017, p. 134-136, fig. 6.

35 Bernini 2017.

36 Poulsen 1927, p. 156.

37 The letter is in Danish.

38 For these copies see Weber-Lehmann – Lehmann, in Blanck – Weber-Lehmann 1987, p. 16-19. Apparently the drawings have since been lost.

39 Jacobsen 1911, p. 77-133.

40 Helbig 1911.

41 Weege 1921; Poulsen 1927.

42 Gjødesen 1946, p. 29.

43 As late as in 1989-1990 the facsimiles were un-rolled, restored and framed.

44 The Royal Casts Collection was at the time installed in the lower galleries of the Danish National Gallery of Art, but was an independent institution.

45 A coloured publication more like a weekly magazine than a real catalogue followed the exhibition in Danish.

46 Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1991, fig. 1.

47 Moltesen 2012, p. 231, fig. 205.

48 The German edition of the catalogue was somewhat altered from the original in Danish and English: Moltesen – Weber-Lehmann 1992.

49 Marzullo 2016 e 2017.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – The Helbig Museum in its own hall inaugurated in 1896 with Helbig’s bust in pride of place and the facsimiles of the Tomba del Triclinio on the walls.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Titre Fig. 2 – The Roman gallery in the old Glyptotek at Carlsberg ca. 1905.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Titre Fig. 3 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, installing the Etruscan Collection 1905-1906.
Légende On the right the back wall, left wall and entrance wall of the first set of facsimiles of the Tomba del Triclinio, and on the far back wall the two sides of the entrance wall from the more recent set.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Titre Fig. 4 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Etruscan collection 1968.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Titre Fig. 5 – Reconstruction of the Tomba delle Iscrizioni in the exhibition The World of the Etruscans at Brede outside Copenhagen 1982.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Titre Fig. 6 – Reconstruction of the Helbig Museum in the exhibition Wolfgang Helbig Brygger Jacobsens Agent i Rom (1887-1914) at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 1987.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Titre Fig. 7 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Mediterranean Horizon 2006. Facsmile of the Tomba della Scimmia as background for an installation of Late Archaic Etruscan material.
Crédits Courtesy of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Mette Moltesen, « From decoration to documentation. The Helbig-Jacobsen facsimiles and their afterlife », Mélanges de l'École française de Rome - Antiquité [En ligne], 131-2 | 2019, mis en ligne le 22 avril 2020, consulté le 02 juin 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mefra/8172 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/mefra.8172

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Auteur

Mette Moltesen

Former Curator of the Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek – m.moltesen@gmail.com

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