The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue),sitting on a rock and gazing wistfully at passing ships, is arguably Denmark’s most well-known landmark. The sculpture was based on the ballet adaptation of The Little Mermaid, which in turn was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s sad story of a young mermaid who falls in love with a prince. It was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen, the head of the Carlsberg brewery.
Edvard Eriksen, a sculptor (1876–1959), sought to base the monument on prima ballerina Ellen Price, who had performed as the mermaid in the ballet’s Royal Theatre performance. The dancer, however, declined to take a nude photo. As a result, Eline Eriksen, the sculptor’s wife, modeled.
In 1913, the last bronze cast was erected adjacent to the Kastellet near the conclusion of the waterfront promenade. Since then, several protestors and pranksters have damaged the artwork. Her head was severed in 1964; a little later, she lost an arm; and finally, in 1998, she lost her head once more. In 2003, she was removed from her perch using explosives. Additionally, the sculpture has frequently been the victim of paint assaults, but each time, the Danish authorities have intervened to save and repair the mermaid.
THE STORY OF THE LITTLE MERMAID
In Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, the main character is a tiny mermaid who lives beneath the waters with her five sisters. A mermaid saves a prince from a sinking ship, and she subsequently develops feelings for him. She is lured into giving up her magnificent voice in exchange for legs by a malicious sea witch because she is yearning to be with the prince and needs to walk on land. The witch claims that if the prince marries someone else, she will die. The prince must eventually wed a princess from another kingdom, despite how much he adores his new, silent spouse. The mermaid’s sisters gift her a miraculous knife before the wedding. She only has to stab the prince to be set free to go back to the ocean. When daylight comes, the mermaid dies since she is unable to kill him.