Sunday, June 1, 2014

Christen Købke (1810–1848) of Denmark

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Rough Sea on a Rocky Coast, 1839

These paintings with their soft light & stillness are perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.  Denmark’s Golden Age – the term used to describe the country’s amazing diversity of intellectual, scientific & cultural achievements of the first half of the 19th century – was also a time of social inequality & economic collapse, as the nation was left bankrupt in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars.

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Portrait of Cecilia Margaret Petersen Købke, the artist's Mother 1829

Denmark recovered with remarkable swiftness producing art defining images of a peaceful, innocent, ordered society. Painters such as Købke reflected this renewal of national pride.

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Portrait of an Old Sailor, 1832

Købke’s work endowed ordinary people, places, & simple motifs with a universal significance, creating a world in microcosm.

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Portrait of the Artist’s Sister-in-law, Johanne Elisabeth Købke, née Sundbye

Købke found his inspiration in Copenhagen painting his immediate surroundings, almost all of which were within the fortified walls of the Danish capital.

Christen Købke (1810–1848),

Throughout his career, Købke painted a large body of portraits. As commissions for other types of work were rare, portraiture offered a secure prospect of work & income.

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Portrait of Ida Thiele, the Future Mrs Wilde as a Child, 1832.

The nature of portraiture changed during Denmark's Golden Age, as the emerging middle classes sought images to confirm their new position in society.

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Frederik Sodring

Portraits often emphazised lineage & prosperity; and while Købke responded to such a need, he was also drawn to penetrating the personality of the sitter.

Christen Købke (1810–1848), Portrait of Naval Lt Christen Schifter Feilberg, 1834.

Købke's portraits are almost all single figures in simple frontal poses with few if any distinctive settings encouraging the viewer to concentrate solely on the sitter.