Constantin Hansen
The interior of S. Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, 1839
Oil on paper glued on canvas, 44 x 41,5 cm.
Inventory number: 0082NMK
Bequest from Hother Ploug, 1932


Constantin Hansen painted this picture in Rome, where he resided in the years 1835-41. This is an architectural study carried out on paper, presumably in front of the subject itself. The inspiration came from C.W. Eckersberg’s architecture studies painted in Rome twenty years earlier. The composition is tight and simple, while the light brushstrokes give the harsh, bare church interior a touch of softness and light. The harmonious alternations between light and shadow and cold and warm tones give a sensation of synthesis between order and sensitivity, which is a typical feature of Constantin Hansen’s art at its best.


Constantin Hansen (1804-1880)
Constantin Hansen received his initial training from his father, Hans Hansen, who was a portrait painter. Later, he studied under C.W. Eckersberg and his paintings became more classical in composition with tight, symmetrical structuring. Constantin Hansen was an excellent colourist and in many of his sketches, he anticipated the colour handling and painterly technique of the Impressionists. In 1860-64, he carried out the huge painting The Danish Constitutional Assembly, which now hangs at Frederiksborg Museum. The painting was commissioned by Johannes Hage’s father, Alfred Hage, and hung in the dining room at the family’s home in Harsdorff’s Palace on Kongens Nytorv (no. 3, the white palace to the right of Charlottenborg).

Translator: Jennifer Russell

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