Italian woman waving from a window, end of the 1850s
Oil on cardboard, 40 x 30 cm.
Inventory number: 0114NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
During his stay in Italy, Marstrand became deeply fascinated by the local women and their seductive beauty. He portrayed many of them in his sketches and paintings. Inspired by Goethe’s Roman Elegies, the meeting between a beautiful Italian lady and her lover became a recurring theme in his works. In this sketch, the lover’s presence is only suggested by the inviting wave of the young lady from her window. The intoxication of love and fertility is underscored by the grape vine winding over the woman and framing the composition. Under the vines bloom the beautiful but also poisonous oleander shrub, which in Greek mythology was associated with the tragic romance between Hero and Leander.
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.