Jens Adolf Jerichau

Emil Jens Baumann Adolf Jerichau (17 April 1816 – 25 July 1883) was a Danish sculptor. He belonged to the generation immediately after Bertel Thorvaldsen, for whom he worked briefly in Rome, but gradually moved away from the static Neoclassicism he inherited from him and towards a more dynamic and realistic style.He was a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and its director from 1857 to 1863.

Jens Adolf Jerichau
Jens Adolf Jerichau by his wife Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann
Born(1816-04-17)17 April 1816
Assens, Denmark
Died25 July 1883(1883-07-25) (aged 67)
Copenhagen, Denmark
EducationRoyal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Known forSculptor
MovementNeoclassicism (early works)
Naturalism (later works)

Early life and career

Jens Adolf Jerichau was born on 17 April 1816 in Assens on the Danish island of Funen to grocer and lieutenant Carl Christian Jerichau and his wife Karen Birch. He worked in a painter's apprenticeship for one and a half years before traveling to Copenhagen where he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1831. He was accepted into the model school in 1833 and continued to the painting school, at the same time studying privately with Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, after winning both silver medals. Then in 1836 he started sculpting with Hermann Ernst Freund

Years in Rome

After graduating from the Academy in 1837, Bonnesen traveled to Rome where he initially worked for around a year in Bertel Thorvaldsen's studio. He established his calling through a bas-relief on a frieze in the royal palace Christiansborg in Copenhagen, depicting the marriage of Alexander the Great to Roxane.

His early works such as the sculpture Hercules and Hebe (1846, original model in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek)as well as his colossal Christ figure from 1849 are in a strong Neoclassical style which bear clear testament to Thorvaldsen.

Finding his own style

With his sculpture group Penelope (184546, Danish National Gallery), which won international acclaim, he moved away from the static Neoclassicism and towards a more dramatic and dynamic style. He created also formed depictions of nature, such as The Panther Hunter.

As a result of a commission from the Princess of Prussia, he produced a depiction of the resurrection of Christ. He died on 25 July 1883.

A number of his most famous works were damaged or ruined in a fire in the Christiansborg Palace in 1884.[1]


Jerichau married the painter Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann and they had 9 children, including painter Harald Jerichau.

Selected works

Public art

See also


  • Nicolaj Bøgh, Erindringer af og om Jens Adolf Jerichau (1884).


  1. New York Times (July 26, 1883) "Obituary"
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Wilhelm Marstrand
Director of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Marstrand
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