C. W. Eckersberg
Moonlight Picture, 1821
Oil on canvas, 48 x 63,5 cm.
Inventory number: 0077NMK
Bequest from Vilhelmine and Alfred Hage, before 1891. Bestowed to the museum in 1908


Throughout his life, Eckersberg harboured a great love for ships and was at times also very concerned with painting them. At one point, he even considered writing a thesis about the demands posed to an artist by marine and seascape painting. This early evening picture with a tiny, white moon that casts its light over a scene with ships and people unloading from one of the boats is rare amongst Eckersberg’s marine productions. The still, silvery grey water and the moonlight on the clouds and water result in a clean, clear and highly evocative expression. Atmospheric images such as this did not become a typical genre for Eckersberg, as the dark palette and dim lighting did not harmonise well with his scientific approach to perspective and compositionition.


Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853)
Eckersberg studied under Nicolai Abildgaard and art historically, he has been proclaimed the Father of Danish Painting, because he was the first professor to establish a school and his students include many of the most famous Golden Age painters. He broke with the idealising art of the 1700s and introduced a new form of realism based on nature studies and compositional principles. In 1810, he won the Academy’s prestigious gold medal, and subsequently spent a year in Paris studying under the great neo-classical painter Jacques-Louis David. Eckersberg was the very first to introduce direct study from nature at the Art Academy, and in doing so, had a decisive impact on the development of Golden Age art in Denmark. He was greatly influential for numerous young artists such as Martinus Rørbye, Christen Købke, Constantin Hansen, Jørgen Roed and Wilhelm Marstand.

Translator: Jennifer Russell

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