Wilhelm Marstrand 
Neapolitan way of life. Study, c. 1839
Oil on cardboard, 25 x 21 cm.
Inventory number: 0097NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908


A Neapolitan fisherman’s daughter listens hopefully for her lover’s whistle as her father naps beside her. After his stay in magnificent Rome, Wilhelm Marstrand encountered a smellier and noisier city on the next leg of his journey, Naples. In spite of this, he found a quiet subject in this Neapolitan fisherman’s family. Marstrand likely observed this scene near the place where he and other artists lived, on the square by Naples’ harbour. From this vantage point, he was able to look across the sea to Mount Vesuvius and observe the dynamic hustle and bustle of the harbour below.


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: The translation agency Diction – J. Niclas B. Jensen

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