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Købke spent most of his childhood at the Citadel in Copenhagen where his father was a baker. In 1832 he rented a studio on Toldbodvej (now Esplanaden), which offered him a new view on his childhood home. From the studio window he could look over the neighbour opposite to the Citadel.

The pictorial effect

It was not, however, the home as such that interested the artist; his main concern was for pictorial effect. Above the treetops he could see the Citadel mill, the ridge turret of the Citadel Church, the red rooftops of the military buildings, and the Oresund coastline in the far distance. In order to create depth in the small picture he added the edge of the neighbouring house’s roof and a chimney in the foreground. The chimney in particular is quite a stroke of genius, testifying to artistic boldness.

The chimney's central position

It is unlikely that any other Danish painter working at the time would have let something as unimportant as a chimney occupy such a central postion in a picture. To Købke, however, the reasons were clear. Without the chimney in the foreground the rest of the picture would not make sense. The sky arching overhead is, however, every bit as important as the view of the Citadel. Købke was clearly keenly interested in the cloud formations with their many, endless varied hues.

Details

  • Title: View from a Window in Toldbodvej Looking Towards the Citadel in Copenhagen
  • Creator: Christen Købke
  • Date Created: About 1833
  • Værktekst: Købke tilbragte størstedelen af sin barndom i Kastellet i København, hvor hans far var bagermester. I 1832 lejede han et atelier på Toldbodvej (nu Esplanaden), og herfra havde han mulighed for at se sit barndomshjem fra en uvant synsvinkel. Beskrivelse af maleriets motiv Fra ateliervinduet kunne han kaste blikket over genbohuset til Kastellet. Det var dog ikke hjemmet som sådan, der optog maleren, kun den billedmæssige virkning, han kunne opnå. Over trætoppene kunne han se Kastellets mølle, tagrytteren på Kastelskirken, de røde tage på de militære bygninger og langt ude i det fjerne Øresundskysten. For at skabe dybde i det lille billede har han i forgrunden indføjet kanten af genbohusets tag og en skorsten. Især det sidste er ikke så lidt af en genistreg og vidner om dristighed. Skorstenens begrundelse Næppe nogen anden dansk maler ville på denne tid have ladet noget så ubetydeligt som en skorsten indtage en så central placering i et billede. Men for Købke har begrundelsen været klar nok. Uden skorstenen i forgrunden ville resten af billedet ikke give mening. Af mindst lige så stor betydning som udsigten til Kastellet er imidlertid himlen, der hvælver sig ovenover. Købke har været stærkt optaget af skyformationerne med de mange, uendeligt varierede farvenuancer.
  • Teknik: Olie på papir, klæbet på lærred
  • Proveniens: Køb 1912
  • Provenance: Acquired 1912
  • Physical Dimensions: w27.5 x h15 cm (Without frame)
  • Featured Place: Kastellet
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=1188
  • Dansk Titel: Udsigt fra et vindue på Toldbodvej til Kastellet
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on paper laid down on canvas

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