Street in Gerano in the Sabine Hills, 1856
Oil on canvas, 49 x 62 cm.
Inventory number: 0156NMK
Bequest from Vilhelmine and Alfred Hage, 1891. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
With the help of a grant from the Danish Royal Academy of Art, Frederik Vermehren journeyed to Italy in 1855, where he painted landscapes, figure studies and streets from Italian villages. In this painting, the artist has sought to capture the strong light of the Mediterranean sun and how it highlights the surrounding architecture of the main square in Gerano. The people on the square show that Vermehren also had an interest in depicting the locals’ daily lives and labours. A group of locals have set up a temporary shop on the square selling clothes and edible mushrooms. An interested customer has stopped to examine the goods, while a boy runs towards two pigs eating the traders’ fruit. This scene from Gerano can be considered a cross between an architectural study and genre art.
Frederik Vermehren (1823-1910)
Vermehren exhibited a painting of a shoemaker at Charlottenborg Exhibition Hall in the spring of 1847. The honesty of his unadorned depiction of normal everyday life was central to Vermehren’s output. The national romantic conception of art that reigned in this era led many artists of the day to heed N.L. Høyen's desire that they portray the life of the common people. The fishwives, sowers and other figures from peasant life depicted by Vermehren are beautiful examples of this.
As a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vermehren was not blind to the aspiration among artists of this era to achieve greater realism; nor was he oblivious to the talent of the artist P. S. Krøyer. As a national romantic painter of everyday life, Vermehren himself remained, nevertheless, a firm believer in depicting situations. The people and environments he depicts are frozen in a timeless state, something which has frequently led to his paintings being used to illustrate for example reprints of Steen Steensen Blicher's short stories. However Vermehren was never an outright realist in keeping with the style of the French Realist movement.