Martinus Rørbye
Beach at Skagen Vesterby, 1847
Oil on canvas, 38 x 53 cm.
Inventory number: 0138NMK
Acquired in 1895. Bestowed to the museum in 1908


For Rørbye’s contemporaries, Jutland was as exotic as Rome or the Far East. The artist went to Jutland several times and was one of the first Danish painters to discover the unique qualities of Skagen. On a warm and windy summer day, Rørbye has painted the fishers on the beach in Skagen, as they unload peat from ships. His uses a liberated painting method with wide and brushstrokes, which suggests that it is a sketch. The composition is summary and some figures and elements are just barely suggested with a single blotch of paint. It is the totality of beach, wind, light and air that have interested Rørbye, and he in this way anticipates the characteristics of Skagen painting a whole generation before it became a concept.


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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