Miss Annette Hage (1814-1857) shows her nephew Hother Hage (1849-1904) a book on plants, 1856
Oil on canvas, 76 x 84 cm.
Inventory number: 0123NMK
Acquired in 1902. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
The close connection between aunt and nephew is the main theme in this family portrait of Annette and Hother Hage. The aunt has sat down in the green sofa to show her nephew a botany book. The child is looking away from the book, appearing thoughtful and curious. Annette Hage’s warm smile and facial expression indicates a deep devotion to her well-behaved nephew. Marstrand liked to depict intimate and unpretentious situations from everyday life in his family portraits. Such settings allowed for the strong family bonds and home-like cosiness to be emphasised in a casual and meaningful way. In this fashion, the artist’s family portraits differed significantly from the earlier Danish Golden Age painters’ staged family portraits such as Eckerberg’s group portrait The Nathanson family from 1818, which can be seen at the National Gallery of Denmark.
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.