Anna Ancher is regarded as one of the pre-eminent Impressionist painters within Danish art. She paints her works from the outskirts of modernity and tends to avoid eye contact; that way, spectators can explore the spaces created without feeling unobserved, becoming enveloped by the psychological and mental moods evoked in the work.
Anna Ancher’s first exhibited work depicted two poor colourful characters, Per and Stine Bollerhus, going home from the church in Skagen.
Several years later she attended Stine’s funeral and gathered her impressions in the painting A Funeral.
The painting's motif
As in most of Anna Ancher’s pictures, no-one attempts to create eye contact. We are free to investigate the space unnoticed, find our place, and let ourselves be absorbed by the meditative calm. The low-ceilinged room is filled with light, allowing Anna Ancher an opportunity to demonstrate her mastery of colour in the meeting between the blue, pink, and green hues; colours that also serve a symbolic function in showing the old woman the road to another world.
The transition between realism and symbolism
As in many other works from the time, created during a period of transition between realism and symbolism, the reference to a transcendental existence is not a postulate; it remains so much in touch with reality that it is primarily seen as a psychological condensation.
An impressionistic painter
Along with Theodor Philipsen (1840-1920), Anna Ancher is regarded as the most important Impressionistic painter on the Danish art scene. But whereas the French Impressionists were intimately linked with modern life, Anna Ancher painted her paintings on the outskirts of the modern: from Skagen, the remotest part of Denmark, more opposed to than in tune with the hectic and the ephemeral.