Andersen a Vallombrosa
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Vallombrosa and H.C. Andersen

Famed sculptor inspired by Tuscany

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The Norwegian-born American sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen (1872-1940) travelled to the forest of Vallombrosa in 1908 during his lengthy stay in Tuscany, after having worked in the heart of Rome’s artistic community. Anderson proposed art inspired by classical moments, intent on upholding the values of peace and harmony. His essay ‘Creation of a World Center of Communication’ discusses his idea of creating a ‘global city’ dominated by beauty and knowledge. Anderson had close ties with the writer Henry James who deeply appreciated his early sculptural works (James, on the other hand, disliked Anderson’s utopist ideas about a global city).

Andersen came to Vallombrosa on holiday, but that didn’t stop him from giving some space to his artistic skills during his sojourn in the area. In 1921, he created a medal dedicated to Dante and Beatrice which is currently hosted in the Vallombrosa Abbey cloister. In 1924, the artist created decorations and masks for the fountain in Piazza di Saltino and, the following year, he designed a stone plaque commemorating Milton’s stay in Pratomagno. Upon his death, Anderson donated the majority of his art works to the Italian state. A collection of gesso and bronze works, as well as paintings and drawings are currently hosted at the Museo di Roma.