Wilhelm Marstrand 
Italian girl with a blue tambourine, n.d. (after 1860)
Oil on canvas, 53 x 38 cm.
Inventory number: 0121NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908


A young Italian woman looks at the viewer with a somewhat insecure, but also inviting gaze. She holds a blue tambourine in her hand, which refers to her work as a musician, likely in connection with one of the numerous Italian festivals. Wilhelm Marstrand was captivated by the joie de vivre and light-heartedness that characterised these festive gatherings. In his art, he occasionally used the tambourine as a symbol of this lack of restraint and explicit sensuality with which the Italian women danced. After his return to Copenhagen, Marstrand also included a tambourine in the painting The artist’s wife and children in the studio in Charlottenborg from 1866 as a symbolic memory of the lively and sensual way of life he had seen and experienced during his time in Italy.


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.

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

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