Romans Gathered for Merriment at an Osteria, 1839
Oil on canvas, 74 x 97 cm.
Inventory number: 0182NMK
Acquired with the help of grants from the Danish National Council of Museums (Statens Museumsnævn), the Danish Commission on the Export of Cultural Assets, New Carlsberg Foundation and Lizzie and Ejler Ruge’s Art Foundation, 1998
In 1836, Marstrand travelled to Rome, where he stayed for about five years. Here, he carried out several paintings with more or less staged subject matter from the Romans’ everyday and celebrations. In an Osteria in Rome, there is dancing and celebration with plenty of local colour, good food and drink. To the left, there is a group of darkly clad gentlemen. They are members of the Danish colony of artists in Rome, including Jørgen Sonne, Jørgen Roed and Constantin Hansen. They are joined by a few distinguished guests, including the painting’s commissioner, who is lifting a glass, court wine merchant and Councillor of State Christian Waage Petersen. The contrasts between north and south fascinated Marstrand, and his portrayal of the Romans is idealised, colourful and charming. As is often the case in the artist’s populous paintings, the subject has a highly staged character.
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.