J. Th. Lundbye
Outside the cowshed, 1847
Oil on canvas, 39,5 x 22 cm.
Inventory number: 0211NMK
Gift from Bergiafonden, 2010


In this study of cows, Lundbye has most unusually elected to let the back of a stable form the overarching framework for the scene. In so doing, the artist has depicted another side of the cows’ daily life which was traditionally not considered very picturesque or worth painting. Lundbye has even added a dunghill in the very middle of the composition, thereby placing an otherwise insignificant and off-putting element at the centre of attention. The masterful brush strokes and expressive style, however, lend both the dunghill and the rest of the scene a fresh and picturesque quality.


Johan Thomas Lundbye (1818-1848)
Lundbye belongs to the youngest generation of Danish Golden Age painters. His speciality was painting animals, but it was his landscape paintings that defined his career. Influenced by the Royal Danish Academy of Art professor J.L. Lund among others, Lundbye adopted a Romanticist approach to art early on. His paintings were far more atmospheric than those of other Golden Age painters such as C.W. Eckersberg and his students. He was accordingly one of the artists who helped engender the breakthrough of National Romanticist landscape painting, which earned him no small amount of accolade during his time. Lundbye was very interested in literature, finding inspiration for his paintings among the works of writers such as Søren Kierkegaard. He voluntarily signed up to fight in the First Schleswig War in 1848, but it is generally believed that he was killed by an accidental shot before he had the chance to fight in an actual battle.

Translator: The translation agency Diction – J. Niclas B. Jensen

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