Tag Archives: Danish artists

#FineArtFriday: Glade Jul (Joyful Christmas) Viggo Johansen 1891

Artist: Viggo Johansen  (1851–1935)

Title : Joyful Christmas (Danish: Glade jul)

Date: 1891

Medium: canvas and oil

Dimensions Height: 127.2 cm (50 in); Width: 158.5 cm (62.4 in)

What I love about this painting:

This is an atmospheric depiction of the artist’s family, singing carols on Christmas Eve, 1891. The only light in the room is provided by the many candles on the tree. This is a homey, nostalgic piece showing not just a moment in time, but the warm feeling of tradition in an era when the giving and receiving of lavish presents was not the primary focus of the holiday. Instead, families celebrated with a small feast, and songs and games.  Some families would have a tree such as the one in this painting, and many people would decorate doors and windows with holly and other evergreens.

Whether a family was deeply religious or not, the day was time to give thanks for their blessings and pray for a bountiful new year ahead.

Both of my grandmothers were born during the time this painting was made. Fire was a real hazard in those days, and neither of my grandparents’ families had candles on their trees. Instead, foil decorations, cut-paper snowflakes, and chains of popcorn and cranberries made their trees bright.

My maternal grandmother was one of fifteen children. They were a close-knit family, and not rich in any sense of the word. Christmas was always her favorite holiday, and she always went out of her way to make special treats for the big day. Grandma Ethel shaped my view of the world in many ways. I always make her special date nut bread and  jam tarts, a Christmas tradition that connects our family through the generations and across time.

About this painting. Via Wikipedia:

From 1885, he exhibited in Paris; there he was inspired by Claude Monet, particularly in his use of colour as can be seen in his painting Christian Bindslev er syg (Christian Bindslev is ill, 1890), which also shows the influence of Christian Krohg, one of the other Skagen painters. After his return from Paris, his paintings took on lighter tones; he had noted the absence of black in the works of the French artists and considered his own earlier works too dark by comparison. Nevertheless, Johansen is remembered particularly for the subdued lighting effects of his interiors — many of which were painted after his visit to Paris — as in his Glade jul (Merry Christmas, 1891) According to Gauguin visited Skagen while Johansen was painting Merry Christmas and tried to encourage him to make the tree brighter, even going as far as to produce a pastel drawing to convey the idea, but Johansen “did not think there was much sense in what he sketched.”

About the Artist, via Wikipedia

Viggo Johansen (3 January 1851 – 18 December 1935) was a Danish painter and active member of the group of Skagen Painters who met every summer in the north of Jutland. He was one of Denmark’s most prominent painters in the 1890s. He also painted landscapes (at Skagen, at Tisvilde, and at his childhood home, the fishing port of Dragør outside Copenhagen), still lifes and portraits.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “Viggo Johansen,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Viggo_Johansen&oldid=938475993 (accessed December 20, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: In the Woodland Stream by Carl Bögh 1872

Artist: Carl Bögh  (1827–1893)

Title: In the Woodland Stream

Description: Forest landscape with rising haze. Children drive cattle through a ford.

Date: 1872

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 111 cm (43.7 in); Width: 96 cm (37.7 in)

Inscriptions: Signature and date at bottom right: Carl Bögh / 1872

What I love about this painting:

The level of detail here is impressive. The artist has faithfully recorded a perfect morning, the opening of a summer day. It’s all here in perfect historical accuracy, down to the lichen on the smallest of trees. The muddy tracks where the cattle daily walk, the moss on the stones, the reflections on the waters–all are shown with faithful attention to detail. The morning mist is rising, and the day is already beginning to warm.

A breeze gently moves through the branches of the white birch, stirring their shimmering leaves. In the stream below, two children attend the family’s wealth—their cattle. The children are well-behaved and dutifully follow the herd. The water is cool water on their feet as they cross, a slow-moving, gentle stream. Brother carries their midday meal in a covered basket. He keeps the cattle moving and urges his sister to keep up.

The forest is lush with fir, birch, and pine growing, and flowering shrubs. All the low-growing plants are here too—one can almost hear the hum of insects starting their day, and the birds’ gossiping among the branches.  The occasional lowing of the cattle as they head toward their meadow is a counterpoint to the ordinary sounds of the forest, filling the morning air with the promise of a fine summer day.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Carl Henrik Bøgh (3 September 1827, Copenhagen – 19 October 1893, Copenhagen) was a Danish painter; best known for his scenes with animals. After serving as a soldier in the First Schleswig War, he attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied with Johan Ludwig Lund, and decided to specialize in animal painting. He first had a showing in 1854, in the Spring Exhibition at Charlottenborg Palace. Three years later was awarded the Neuhausenske Prize [da].

From 1860 to 1861, he made a study trip abroad, with the travel scholarship from Academy; visiting Brussels and Antwerp, but spending most of his time in Paris. In 1870 and 1875, some of his works were purchased by the “Royal Painting Collection” (now the National Gallery of Denmark). In 1873, he became a Professor.

His paintings of deer were among his most popular. He also made painting expeditions to Norway and Sweden.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Carl Bøgh – In the Woodland Stream (1872).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Carl_B%C3%B8gh_-_In_the_Woodland_Stream_(1872).jpg&oldid=368737131 (accessed December 10, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Carl Bøgh,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Carl_B%C3%B8gh&oldid=944301648 (accessed December 10, 2020).

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