Wilhelm Marstrand 
Dancing Roman Woman. Study for Romans Gathered for
Merriment at an Osteria,
before 1838
Oil on Card, 33,6 x 22 cm.
Inventory number: 0101NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908


This little painting of a dancing woman seen from behind is a preliminary sketch for the female dancer in Marstrand’s large painting, Romans Gathered for Merriment at an Osteria from 1839, also exhibited at the museum. The figure in the sketch is barefooted and possesses a distinct grace and lightness as she balances on the edge of her own shadow. Marstrand presumably painted the figure based on a model, while the brownish-green surroundings were added later in order to situate the figure in a space. One senses the artist’s interest in the woman’s sensuality and in the fall of sunlight from in front, which softly hits the girl’s cheek, golden earring and her right hand holding her skirt.

Study for Romans Gathered for Merriment at an Osteria.
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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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