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A Young Artist (Ditlev Blunck) Examining a Sketch in a Mirror

Wilhelm Bendz1826

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

A young artist is taking a break from his work, holding up a study in front of a mirror to see how the composition would look in reverse.

How the painters saw themselves

The picture gives an impression of how the painters of the time saw themselves: As serious, self-aware artists. The particular painter in this picture is standing in a crowded room surrounded by his tools and paraphernalia: a paintbox, palette, and easel as well as a skull and a sketchbook suggesting that careful studies precede the final painting.

Art as a mirror held up to life

A zigzagging motion leads up through the lower half of the picture to the painting held in the artist’s hands. Only the back of the painting is shown directly, with the front seen only in the mirror. This alludes to the era’s view of art as a mirror held up to life.

The new role emerging for artists

Wilhelm Bendz was keenly interested in the new role emerging for artists in the early 19th century; they were no longer regarded as specialist craftsmen, but as intellectual workers, as artists in the modern sense. In the 1820s, he painted a number of pictures of artists at work. The artist in this picture is Bendz’s fellow student Ditlev Blunck engaged in painting a portrait of Jørgen Sonne, a painter of battle scenes.

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Details

  • Title: A Young Artist (Ditlev Blunck) Examining a Sketch in a Mirror
  • Creator: Wilhelm Bendz
  • Date Created: 1826
  • Værktekst: En ung kunstner har taget en pause fra malearbejdet og holder sin skitse op foran et spejl for at afprøve, hvordan kompositionen virker, når den spejlvendes. Malernes selvopfattelse Billedet giver indtryk af, hvordan datidens malere betragtede sig selv: som seriøst arbejdende, selvbevidste kunstnere. Billedets maler står i et tætpakket rum omgivet af sine redskaber og hjælpemidler, såvel malerkassen, paletten og staffeliet som et kranium og en skitseblok, der antyder det grundige studium, der går forud for udførelsen af maleriet. Kunsten som et spejl af virkeligheden En zigzagbevægelse fører op gennem den nederste halvdel af billedet til maleriet i hans hænder. Det er kun bagsiden af maleriet, man ser. Forsiden ses kun i spejlet. Dette er en hentydning til datidens opfattelse af kunsten som et spejl af virkeligheden. Kunstnernes nye rolle Wilhelm Bendz var stærkt optaget af kunstnernes nye rolle, da de i begyndelsen af 1800-tallet ikke længere blev betragtet som specialiserede håndværkere, men som åndsarbejdere, som kunstnere i moderne forstand. Han malede i 1820’erne en række malerier af kunstnere under arbejdet. Maleren på billedet er Bendz’ studiekammerat Ditlev Blunck, der er i gang med at male et portræt af bataljemaleren Jørgen Sonne.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Køb 1826
  • Provenance: Acquired 1826
  • Physical Dimensions: w85 x h98 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=1182
  • Dansk Titel: En ung kunstner (Ditlev Blunck) betragter en skitse i et spejl
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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