Wilhelm Marstrand 
Moving Day Scene, 1831
Oil on canvas, 43 x 50 cm.
Inventory number: 0094NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908


A young dignified woman, along with an older woman and two small children, is thrown on the street by a grim-looking housekeeper, while a plump wife directs the movers in the right direction with their load. It is a detailed, satirical scene that unfolds for the viewer. The work is a good example of Marstrand’s narrative painting with everyday subjects in Copenhagen from before 1836. In his Moving Day Scene, he makes ironic comment upon Copenhageners’ constant moving about, and the subject is inspired by Henrik Hertz’s vaudeville The Moving Day from 1828. The artist has assembled the image out of realistic, fantastic and symbolic elements. This helps to give the painting a theatrical look, as if taken from a stage upon which snapshots from everyday Copenhagen in the 1830s are played out.


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: Jennifer Russell

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