Don Quixote’s first ride home, n.d. (after 1847)
Oil on canvas, 85 x 125 cm.
Inventory number: 0118NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
Don Quixote is travelling home following his first unsuccessful campaign through a desolate and barren evening landscape. His faithful companion, the farmer Sancho Panza, talks to himself while guiding the beat-up knight’s steed - a donkey. Don Quixote is sitting in a contemplative position, most likely reflecting on a recent battle against some innocent travellers who he mistakenly believed had insulted his lady love, Dulcinea of Toboso. Marstrand liked to depict Cervantes’ tragicomic tale about the confused hero with a mixture of irony and compassion. It was particularly the overly optimistic and idealistic knight Don Quixote who was the object of Marstrand’s fascination.
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.