Wilhelm Marstrand
Scene from Ludvig Holberg's "Maternity Room", n.d.
Oil on canvas, 82 x 108 cm
Inventory number: 0247NMK
Acquired 2021


Wilhelm Marstrand liked to depict scenes from Ludvig Holberg's popular satirical plays, and the Maternity Room is one of these. The comedy was first performed in 1723.

Placed in a high-backed armchair with a large pillow in the back, the new mother sits and receives visits and gifts from the wives of acquaintances, as was the custom in Holberg's time. A tradition that stretched over several weeks. The work of art is a curious look into one of the bourgeoisie's living rooms, where you simultaneously become a spectator of several small internal actions and exchanges of glances between the characters in the painting.

The motif became immensely popular in Marstrand's time and is available in several versions, with slight variations in details and colours and was also produced as a lithograph.



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.

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