Martinus Rørbye
Scene near Sorrento overlooking the Sea, 1835
Oil on canvas, 32 x 46,5 cm.
Inventory number: 0201NMK
Acquired with funding from the wills of Director Per Vilhelm & Mygge Kolbing-Nielsen, 2005


Rørbye probably painted this sketch in front of the subject, which was favoured among the Nordic painters travelling in Italy at the time. The wide, white terrace with a view across the Sorrento Bay was part of a monastery complex for monks of the Capuchin order. One of them can be seen at the back of the picture in the characteristic, brown robes with a rope around his waist. Taken as a whole, the subject is classical in style, but it also contains graphic and abstract painterly qualities such as the depiction of the tall, white wall and the dark, organic tracing of the trees against the white, homogenous sky. Rørbye was clearly interested in the fall of light through the treetops as well as the heavy shadows cast on the ground and the low wall towards the ocean.


Martinus Rørbye (1803-1848)
Rørbye was born into a Danish official family in Norway, but moved with his family to Denmark as a child. He studied at the Art Academy under C.W. Eckersberg, from whom he inherited and continued the objective and realistic approach to subject matter. Rørbye loved travel and travelled more than any of the other Golden Age painters. His travels brought him to Norway, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey, where he carried out numerous ink and oil sketches in front of the subjects for later use in paintings. In 1844, Rørbye became a professor at the Academy, but died four years later of disease.

Translator: Jennifer Russell

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