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Bertel Thorvaldsen

Bertel Thorvaldsen was a Danish sculptor of international fame and medallist, who spent most of his life in Italy. Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen into a Danish/Icelandic family of humble means, was accepted to the Royal Danish Academy of Art when he was eleven years old. Working part-time with his father, a wood carver, Thorvaldsen won many honors and medals at the academy, he was awarded a stipend to continue his education. In Rome, Thorvaldsen made a name for himself as a sculptor. Maintaining a large workshop in the city, he worked in a heroic neo-classicist style, his patrons resided all over Europe. Upon his return to Denmark in 1838, Thorvaldsen was received as a national hero; the Thorvaldsen Museum was erected to house his works next to Christiansborg Palace. Thorvaldsen is buried within the courtyard of the museum. In his time, he was seen as the successor of master sculptor Antonio Canova, his strict adherence to classical norms has tended to estrange modern audiences. Among his more famous public monuments are the statues of Nicolaus Copernicus and Józef Poniatowski in Warsaw.

Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen in 1770, the son of Gottskálk Þorvaldsson, an Icelander who had settled in Denmark. His father was a wood-carver at a ship yard, where he made decorative carvings for large ships and was the early source of influence on his son Bertel's development as a sculptor and on his choice of career. Thorvaldsen's mother was a Jutlandic peasant girl, his birth certificate and baptismal records have never been found, the only existing record is of his confirmation in 1787. Thorvaldsen had claimed descent from the first European born in America. Thorvaldsen's childhood in Copenhagen was humble, his father had a drinking habit. Nothing is known of Thorvaldsen's early schooling, he may have been schooled at home, he never became good at writing, he never acquired much of the knowledge of fine culture, expected from an artist. In 1781, by the help of some friends, eleven-year-old Thorvaldsen was admitted to Copenhagen's Royal Danish Academy of Art first as a draftsman, from 1786 at the modeling school.

At night he would help his father in the wood carving. Among his professors were Nicolai Abildgaard and Johannes Wiedewelt, who are both influences for his neo-classicist style. At the Academy he was praised for his works and won all the prizes from the small Silver Medal to the large Gold Medal for a relief of St. Peter healing the crippled beggar in 1793; as a consequence, he was granted a Royal stipend. Leaving Copenhagen on August 30 on the frigate Thetis, he landed in Palermo in January 1797 traveled to Naples where he studied for a month before making his entry to Rome on 8 March 1797. Since the date of his birth had never been recorded, he celebrated this day as his "Roman birthday" for the rest of his life. In Rome he lived at Via Sistina in front of the Spanish Steps and had his workshop in the stables of the Palazzo Barberini, he was taken under the wing of Georg Zoëga a Danish numismatist living in Rome. Zoëga took an interest in seeing to it that the young Thorvaldsen acquired an appreciation of the antique arts.

As a frequent guest at Zoëga's house he met Anna Maria von Uhden, born Magnani. She had married a German archeologist, she became Thorvaldsen's mistress and left her husband in 1803. In 1813 she gave birth to Elisa Thorvaldsen. Thorvaldsen studied with another Dane, Asmus Jacob Carstens whose handling of classic themes became a source of inspiration. Thorvaldsen's first success was the model for a statue of Jason, but the work was slow in selling and his stipend having run out, he planned his return to Denmark. In 1803, as he was set to leave Rome, he received the commission to execute the Jason in marble from Thomas Hope, a wealthy English art-patron. From that time Thorvaldsen's success was assured, he did not leave Italy for sixteen years; the marble Jason was not finished until 25 years as Thorvaldsen became a busy man. In 1803, he started work on Achilles and Briseïs his first classically themed relief. I 1804 he finished Dance of the Muses at Helicon and a group statue of Cupid and Psyche and other important early works such as Apollo, Bacchus og Ganymedes.

During 1805, he had to enlist the help of several assistants. These assistants undertook most of the marble cutting, the master limited himself to doing the sketches and finishing touches. Commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1808 and finished in 1832 a statue of Adonis is one of the few works in marble carved by Thorvaldsen's own hand, at the same time it is one of the works, closest to the antique Greek ideals. In the spring of 1818 Thorvaldsen fell ill, during his convalescence he was nursed by the Scottish lady Miss Frances Mackenzie. Thorvaldsen proposed to her on March 29, 1819. Thorvaldsen had fallen in love with another woman: Fanny Caspers. Torn between Mackenzie and Anna Maria Von Uhden the mother of his daughter, Thorvaldsen never succeeded in making Miss Caspers his wife. In 1819, he visited his native Denmark. Here he was commissioned to make the colossal series of statues of Christ and the Twelve Apostles for the rebuilding of Vor

Francis George Godson

Rev. Francis George Godson MBE was a Methodist minister from the village of Brailes in Warwickshire, one of the early proponents of a retirement pension for the poor of Barbados. Godson was the son of Stephen Mary, he grew up in the village of Lower Brailes, England, He was married, in the former British Guiana, to Florence, they had one daughter, Annie Godson, one son named Francis Godson. At the time of his death, he was survived by his children, by four grandchildren, Francis Godson and George Godson, Stephen Godson, Maria Creuco. Francis Godson is buried in the cemetery of the Bethel Methodist Church on Bay Street in Bridgetown, Barbados. Godson left England in 1890 to spend most of the rest of his life as a Methodist minister in the Caribbean and in British Guiana. From 1909 until his death, he was resident in Barbados in the north of the island; as early as the late 1910s, Godson had written to the Barbados Advocate newspaper, appealing for assistance for the poor. In 1936, he was a member of a legislative committee charged with “investigating the possibility of introducing in Barbados a scheme of old age pensions”.

The following year Godson, as an acting-Member of the Legislative Council of Barbados, gave evidence to the Deane Commission of Enquiry, whose final report resulted in an old-age pension scheme coming into operation in Barbados on 1 May 1938. Francis Godson was awarded the MBE on 1 January 1949. A road, which circles the National Insurance Office on Culloden Road in Bridgetown, is named Francis Godson Drive, in honour of Godson’s work on behalf of the poor of Barbados

Demetrius I of Georgia

Demetrius I, from the Bagrationi dynasty, was King of Georgia from 1125 to 1156. He is known as a poet. Demetrius was the eldest son of King David the Builder by his first wife Rusudan, he was brought up in Kutaisi. As a commander, he took part in his father's battles against Seljuks at Didgori and Shirvan. In 1117, he was sent by David at the head of a Georgian army into Shirvan, where Demetrius reduced the fortress of Kaladzor and put to flight the men of Sukman, "commander of all the forces of Persia" — as a Georgian chronicler suggests; this Sukman was a Shah-Armen prince, subsequently, ruler in his own right, Sökmen II, whom the Shirvanshah Afridun I must have applied for help. Demetrius succeeded on his father's death on January 24, 1125; as soon as, he ascended to the throne, the neighbouring Muslim rulers began attacking Georgia from all sides. The Seljuqid sultans fought to restore the rule of the Shirvanshahs. Shirvan's large Muslim population rose against Georgia; this happened in 1129 or 1130, when Demetrius restored the Shirvanshahs to power in Shirvan, installing on the throne Manuchihr II, the husband of his daughter Rusudan.

Shirvanshahs had to provide the Georgian king with troops. In 1130 Georgia was attacked by the Sultan of Ahlat, Shah-Armen Sökmen II; this war was started by the passage of Ani into the hands of the Georgians. In 1139, Demetrius raided the city of Ganja in Arran, he brought the iron gate of the defeated city to Georgia and donated it to Gelati Monastery at Kutaisi. Despite this brilliant victory, Demetrius could hold Ganja only for a few years. In reply to this, the sultan of Eldiguzids attacked Ganja several times, in 1143 the town again jell to the sultan. According to Mkhitar Gosh, Demetrius gained possession of Ganja, when he gave his daughter in marriage to the sultan, he presented the latter with the town as dowry, the sultain appointed his own emir to rule it. In 1130, Demetrius revealed a plot of nobles involving the king's half-brother Vakhtang; the King arrested the conspirators and executed one of their leaders, Ioanne Abuletisdze, in 1138. Fadl's successor, Fakr al-Din Shaddad, a Shaddadid emir of Ani asked for Saltuk's daughter's hand, however Saltuk refused him.

This caused a deep hatred in Shaddad towards Saltuk. In 1154 he planned a plot and formed a secret alliance with the Demetrius I. While a Georgian army waited in ambush, he offered tribute to Saltukids, ruler of Erzerum and asked the latter to accept him as a vassal. In 1153-1154 Emir Saltuk II marched on Ani, but Shaddad informed his suzerain, the King of Georgia, of this. Demetrius marched to Ani and captured the emir. At the request of neighbouring Muslim rulers and released him for a ransom of 100,000 dinars, paid by Saltuk's sons in law and Saltuk swore not to fight against the Georgians he returned home. In 1154 David V, Demetrius's elder son forced his father to abdicate and become a monk, receiving the monastic name Damian. However, David died six months and King Demetrius was restored to the throne. David was survived by his son Demna, regarded by the aristocratic opposition as a lawful pretender. Although Demetrius was not as successful as his father David the Builder, Georgia remained a strong feudal power with a well-organized military and political system and a developed cultural and economical life.

He was buried at Gelati Monastery. He is regarded as a saint in the Orthodox Church and his feast day is celebrated on May 23 on the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar; the name of Demetrius's wife is unknown, but he had several children: David V, 7th king of Georgia Rusudan, married firstly with sultan Masud Temirek and secondly with Sultan Ahmad Sanjar Giorgi III, 8th king of Georgia, who succeeded him Bagrationi, who married prince of Kiev King Demetrius I was an author of several poems on religious themes. Shen Khar Venakhi, a hymn to the Virgin Mary, is the most famous of them. Family of David IV of Georgia The Bagrationi Dynasty Listen to the hymn “Thou Art the Vineyard” St Damiane the King and Hymnographer Orthodox synaxarion