Scandinavian painting lights up the Northern light

8 février 2016

Scandinavian painters, except Edvard Munch (1863-1944) and his famous « Cri », are mostly unknown to the public. If the latter evolved into expressionism to the point of being considered one of the pioneers of this movement, the Scandinavian painting gave mainly into Impressionism.

1820, Danish Liberation

It was around 1820 that was launched, in Denmark, a pictorial revolution when some artists, tired of being under the very rigorous influence of the Copenhagen Painting Academy, travel to Rome. Back on their northern lands, painters, including Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853), free themselves from neoclassicism, academic conventions, orders and patronage of the Royal Court to engage in new ways . Preferring a naturalistic style and outdoor painting rather than workshop, their depiction picture landscapes, views of the city or even simpler subjects like fishermen and even cobblers. It is then considered that the Danish painting is in full golden age to the dawn of the 1850s.

(Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, 1828, oil on canvas, 63 x 51 cm)

From the Skagen’s school to Grez-sur-Loing

Affected by various revolutions and political crises, Danish painting turns to romanticism by mainly representing local customs and folk traditions with, in leadership, Christen Dalsgaard (1807-1924). Like the French landscape painters who meet at Barbizon between 1825 and 1875, Danish artists are used to meet at Skagen, a small fishing village at the northern tip of the country, to enjoy the exceptional light created by the meeting of the waters of the North sea and the Baltic. Around Michael Ancher (1849-1927) and Peder Severin Kroyer (1851-1909), the School of Skagen is decisive for the evolution of Scandinavian painting, combining impressionism with the Nordic tradition. In artworks of the period, we find the difference between the cold light of the North and the one from the South. Inspired by the Danish, Swedish painters begin the same step in 1870 by moving to Grez-sur-Loing (Seine-et-Marne) in order to observe French Impressionism and broadcast it when they return to Sweden. Combining this technique with the specifics of their style, the Swedish paintings are offering a large place to the northern light in nocturne and often snowy landscapes.

(Gustav Fjaestad, Reflet glacé de soleil d'hiver)

(Eugène Jansson, Lever de soleil sur les toits)

Finland and Norway follow the movement

Finnish, dominated for a long time by their neighbors (Sweden, and then Russia) and little spoiled by extreme weather conditions, free themselves and paint less gloomy pictures by drawing inspiration from an exacerbated patriotism and the mythical past of their land. On their side, Norwegians are the last to follow the movement in the early 1910s by representing scenes of everyday life impregnated with the Northern light.

Jonas Lundh, the heir

Boats, landscapes and objects ... these are the main subjects of the Swedish artist Jonas Lundh artworks that you can find on the website of Carré d’artistes®. Bathed in the Nordic light, Lundh paintings perfectly follow the tradition of Scandinavian Impressionism started nearly 200 years ago. Musician, drummer and percussionist, he transmits harmony and rhythm on his canvas by painting with different sizes of cardboard pieces and "by putting color on what some call the imagination"

Find out the paintings of Jonas Lundh, who is the Carré d’artistes® artist of the week, by going now on his online gallery.

Jonas Lundh GALLERY