Loading

Black Cocks at Ground

David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl1675

Nationalmuseum Sweden

Nationalmuseum Sweden

This is the very first known landscape painting where a Swedish artist has depicted his view of Swedish nature. It is an early morning in the middle of April and in the light mist the unmistakable lakeside landscape of central Sweden emerges. Spruces and juniper bushes rise up from the ground, which is peppered with lichens and mosses, and in the middle distance the view is flanked by pines and birches. But in front of this tranquil view, something dramatic is taking place – the artist has captured a magnificent black grouse courtship display in the heart of the Swedish countryside – somewhere outside Kungsör – in the spring of 1675.

Ehrenstrahl was the leading Swedish artist of the late 17th century and was regularly called upon by the Royal court. Among the paintings that he executed alongside his Royal allegories and portraits of the elite, his realistic depictions of all kinds of animals take pride of place. In these paintings of hunting, birds and squirrels, the Swedish countryside can sometimes be glimpsed in the background. But in this painting, the landscape has emerged from a suggestive backdrop to become an indelible part of the lead motif.

Anyone who stands before the painting to admire the landscape and the black grouse is not alone – concealed in a hide in the foreground sits another spectator of the drama that is unfolding. Alongside our modern eyes, a pair from the 17th-century still gaze out onto the misty April landscape – the original viewer in this first Swedish landscape is forever embodied in the painting.

Show lessRead more

Details

  • Title: Black Cocks at Ground
  • Creator: David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl
  • Date Created: 1675
  • Title in Swedish: Orrspel
  • Signature: D Klöcker Ehrenstrahl. fecit. Aoe 1675.
  • Physical Dimensions: w2660 x h2750 cm (without frame)
  • Artist Information: Ehrenstrahl was a German-born painter and draughtsman who worked mainly in Sweden. David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl was born in Hamburg. From 1646 to 1648 he worked as a scribe at the Swedish Chancellery in Osnabrück in connection with the peace negotiations after the Thirty Years War. He then studied under animal portraitist Juriaen Jacobsz in Hamburg. In 1651 Ehrenstrahl was employed by the Swedish Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel, owner of Skokloster Castle. Two years later, the artist moved into the service of Swedish Dowager Queen Maria Eleonora. It was probably she who funded his artistic tour of Italy, France and England in 1654–1660. On his return home, Ehrenstrahl began a successful career as court painter. As well as individual portraits and group pictures, his Royal commissions included realistic depictions of the King’s horses and other animal and hunting scenes. Ehrenstrahl also painted allegorical motives at Drottningholm Palace and the large plafond Svea och dygdernas rådslag in the House of Nobility in Stockholm (1669–1674). Examples of his religious paintings include the Crucifixion and Judgement Day in Stockholm Cathedral (1695–1696). Also counted among his works are a number of drawings for copperplate engravings. Ehrenstrahl was raised to the nobility in 1674 and in 1690 was appointed a Surveyor of the Court. He published several books on art, not least Die vornehmste Schildereyen, welche in denen Pallästen des Königreiches Schweden zu sehen sind (1694). Ehrenstrahl is the father of artist Anna Maria Ehrenstrahl (1666–1729).
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nationalmuseum, Nationalmuseum
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

Recommended

Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile