Modern art has gained a firm foothold at Christiansborg in recent years. It is not a matter of chance that artists began to take certain liberties from the 1960s onwards. The invention of TV meant that the public became increasingly familiar with politicians so it was no longer so important to portray them in a realistic manner. At the same time, artists have been experimenting with new forms of expression, and a living state institution and a workplace such as Christiansborg must naturally reflect these developments.
However, most recently, a more discreet and realistic idiom has once again emerged. Parliament's Art Committee now helps politicians to choose portraitists. Nevertheless, it could be asked whether things did not go too far on one occasion when former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Liberal Party) chose the pilot, concept artist and former squatter activist, Simone Aaberg Kærn, to paint his portrait. It is a kitschy, rather ineptly painted picture that makes Fogh Rasmussen look as though he is wearing a mask due to the absence of detail in the depiction of his physiognomy.
Among the most successful portraits of prime ministers from modern times that should be pointed out are Martin Kaalund-Jørgensen’s portrait of Thorvald Stauning, Mogens Kølkjær’s portrait of Viggo Kampmann, Johannes Hofmeister's portrait of J.O. Krag, Niels Strøbek's portrait of Poul Schlüter and Michael Kvium's portrait of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. Author: Lisbeth Bonde, M.A and art critic. Photographer: Torben Eskerod.