Portrait of Miss Vilhelmine (Ville) Hage, later Mrs. Heise (1838-1912), 1853
Oil on canvas, 104 x 76 cm.
Inventory number: 0108NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
In this painting, Wilhelm Marstrand has portrayed Vilhelmine Heise, sister to Johannes Hage, the founder of The Nivaagaard Collection. Standing with one supporting hand on the table, the 15-year-old Vilhelmine glances shyly at the viewer with the slightest hint of a smile. She has black ringlets in her hair and is wearing a formal black silk dress with a white collar and matching red ribbon. After Marstrand’s stay in Rome, practicing his skills in portraying young and beautiful Italian women, the painting of the equally young and beautiful Vilhelmine became an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what he had learned during his travels abroad. The artist was very dissatisfied with the end result of the portrait, however, and in 1856 he painted yet another portrait of Ville because he regarded his first attempt as imperfect.
Wilhelm Marstrand (1810-1873)
Marstrand was among C.W. Eckersberg’s students and was, as the only one, very interested in narrative and illustrative painting. Marstrand worked with genre painting, literary subjects, portraiture and, in later years, history painting. He was frequently employed as a portraitist and painted a series of portraits of members of the Hage family, among others. Marstrand travelled throughout his life in the larger European countries such as Italy, France, Germany and England. He was particularly fascinated by Italy, where he stayed for several years. From here, he became a major producer of peculiar, touching, and often humorous or ironic depictions of the Italian folk life that so fascinated him.