Hendrik Christian Andersen was a deeply interesting artist, born in Bergen, Norway, in 1872.
When he was around twenty, he moved to Rome and began weaving strong bonds with Italy’s capital city. He lived in the magnificent Villa Hélène, which became both his home and his art studio. The sculptor decided that after his death he would leave the palace, as well as his statue collection, to the Italian Republic. Fortunately, his legacy was made available to the public since 1978, with the opening of the Hendrik Christian Andersen House-Museum.
Expert Fabrizio Falconi explains, “Andersen’s complex personality included elements of megalomania, as reflected in the size of his sculptures, and of idealism.”
Andersen, Falconi continues, “studied art in the most prestigious schools in Europe, and in the many hours he spent analyzing the masters’ works had convinced himself that only art could save humanity, which at the time was under the threat of terrible conflicts and world wars. He dreamt of a great global city, a kind of planetary capital of art and culture that could convey the ideals of peace and harmony that brilliant minds in the most varied fields had pursued before him.”
In Rome, Andersen “met great writer Henry James, who was about thirty years his senior” and with whom he established “a very close relationship, recalled in the many letters that bear testimony to the strong attraction and deep sentimental involvement between the two” (translated from F. Falconi, “Misteri e segreti dei rioni e dei quartieri di Roma”, Newton Compton, Rome 2013)
Visit the Museum to see how he translated all of his beliefs and passion into great art.