Herman Wilhelm Bissen

Herman Wilhelm Bissen (13 October 1798 – 10 March 1868) was a Danish sculptor.[1]

Herman Wilhelm Bissen
Born(1798-10-13)13 October 1798
Died10 March 1868(1868-03-10) (aged 69)
EducationRoyal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Known forSculpting
Notable work
Isted Lion (Istedløven)
MovementDanish Golden Age, Neoclassicism
AwardsOrder of the Dannebrog


Bissen was born at Schleswig in Schleswig-Holstein. He was the son of Christian Gottlieb Wilhelm Bissen (1766-1847), a farmer, and Anna Margrethe Dorothea Elfendal (1763-1848). He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1816-23.

In 1824, he was awarded a travel scholarship which enabled him to travel to Rome. The stay in Rome extended over 10 years during which time he became an assistant to Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Under the influence of Thorvaldsen, his style changed from romanticism to neo-classicism. In early 1834, Bissen left Rome to return to Copenhagen where he was awarded a professorship at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts following the death of his predecessor, Hermann Ernst Freund. From 1850-53, he was director of the academy. [2]

Bissen, who worked in plaster, marble and bronze, performed significant public order work. The National Gallery of Denmark owns a selection of over one hundred busts and a collection of two hundred works in total. Among his notable works are the monumental Landsoldaten (1858) in Fredericia, the statue of Adam Oehlenschläger (1854-61) in front of the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, and the equestrian statue of King Frederik VII of Denmark in front of Christiansborg Castle. [3]

His monument from 1862, Isted Lion (Istedløven), was erected in recognition of Danish victory during the Battle of Isted which was fought as part of the First Schleswig War. The statue was originally erected at Flensburg in Schleswig. In 1867, it was moved to Berlin and remained there until 1945. After World War II, it was located to Søren Kierkegaards Plads in Copenhagen. In September 2011 it returned to Flensburg. [4]

Personal life

Bissen was married twice. In 1836, he married Emilie Hedvig Møller. She died in 1850 and two years later, he married Marie Cathrine Sonne. He was the father of sculptor Vilhelm Bissen and landscape painter Rudolf Bissen. Bissen died of pneumonia in 1868. His funeral took place at the Vor Frue Kirke in Copenhagen, followed by burial at Assistens Cemetery.[5][6]


  1. "H.W. Bissen". Kunstindeks Danmark. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  2. "Herman Vilhelm Bissen". Den Store Danske. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  3. "Herman Wilhelm Bissen". Kulturcentret Assistens. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  4. "Istedløven". Den Store Danske. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  5. "Vilhelm Bissen". Den Store Danske. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  6. "Rudolf Bissen". Kunstindeks Danmark. Retrieved May 1, 2018.

Media related to Herman Wilhelm Bissen at Wikimedia Commons

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Jørgen Hansen Koch
Director of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Marstrand

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