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A Danish Coast. View from Kitnæs on Roskilde Fjord. Zealand

Johan Thomas Lundbye1843

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

The concepts of "nation" and "people" were avidly discussed during the 1830s and 1840s. J.Th. Lundbye was particularly influenced by the art historian N.L. Høyen’s (1798-1870) programme for Danish painting and its contributions to building national pride and self-awareness.

The coastline as characteristic of the Danish countryside

When, in 1842, he decided to depict a Danish coastline in an unusually monumental format, the scene was to represent the quintessential characteristic of the Danish countryside: the extensive coastlines. The scene does not, in fact, depict a single, specific site, the main motif is based on cliffs that the artist saw and sketched at the Roskilde Fjord. He adapted these cliffs,making them rather more monumental, and combined them with scenes from elsewhere.

The painting's hidden autobiographical commentary

Work progressed slowly due to Lundbye’s characteristic self-doubt and scruples, but also as a result of interference from several selfappointed advisors, including Høyen. The artist was frustrated by his tendency to overdo details such as the vegetation in the foreground or a single cloud, and he remarked on this ineffectualness by painting a hidden autobiographical commentary in the centre of the picture where two men stand by a cart:

"I am like that cart,my dear friend. A wheel is broken and now I can proceed no further; the other turns as ever,but cannot serve to move the cart one inch."

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  • Title: A Danish Coast. View from Kitnæs on Roskilde Fjord. Zealand
  • Creator: Johan Thomas Lundbye
  • Date Created: 1843
  • Værktekst: Spørgsmålet om nation og folk blev diskuteret flittigt i miljøer, som J.Th. Lundbye var en del af i 1830’erne og 40’erne. Han lod sig især påvirke af kunsthistorikeren N.L. Høyens (1798-1870) program for dansk maleris bidrag til opbyggelse af den nationale selvbevidsthed. Kyststrækningen som indbegrebet af dansk landskab Da han i 1842 besluttede sig for at skildre en dansk kyst i et for sin samtid usædvanligt monumentalt format, var det meningen, at billedets motiv skulle repræsentere indbegrebet af det danske landskabs særkende: de mange kyststrækninger. Selv om der ikke var tale om en skildring af en bestemt lokalitet, blev hovedmotivet nogle skrænter, som maleren havde set og skitseret ved Roskilde Fjord, og som han dels monumentaliserede og bearbejdede, dels kombinerede med andre motiver. Maleriets skjulte selvbiografiske kommentar Arbejdet trak i langdrag under Lundbyes mange karakteristiske anfægtelser, men også som følge af indblanding fra flere selvbestaltede rådgivere, heriblandt Høyen. Maleren frustreredes over sin tendens til overbearbejdning af detaljer som forgrundens vegetation eller en enkelt sky, og som en art kommentar til arbejdets ørkesløshed malede han en skjult selvbiografisk kommentar i billedets centrum, hvor to mænd står ved en kærre: "Den gamle Kærre ligner jeg, kære Ven! Et Hjul er gaaet itu og nu kan jeg ikke komme videre, det andet drejer sig immer, men kan ikke bringe Vognen af Pletten."
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Køb 1843
  • Provenance: Acquired 1843
  • Physical Dimensions: w255.5 x h188.5 cm (Without frame)
  • Featured Place: Jægerspris
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=1192
  • Dansk Titel: En dansk kyst. Motiv fra Kitnæs ved Roskilde Fjord
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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