The Academy in Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s small Academy of Fine Arts was at the forefront of developments in European art during the first half of the 19th century, the period 1790-1850.  The ‘golden age’ (guldalder) of Danish painting is largely associated with the long tenure at the academy of Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (the Kunsthalle in Hamburg currently tells the story of him), who taught his students the importance of both precision in nature studies and absolute rigour in observations of atmospheric conditions and perspective. A growing groundswell of national sentiment had brought in its wake a new appreciation for domestic themes in art, heralding a new era of Danish painting. It was not only Danes and Norwegians who were drawn to the Academy, but also artists from northern Germany: Caspar David Friedrich, Georg Friedrich Kersting, Johan Christian Clausen Dahl – figures associated in later life with Dresden Romanticism, studied in Copenhagen. The beginning of the Danish-German conflict about Schleswig-Holstein interrupted this cooperation in 1848.  In turn, a considerable number of students from Copenhagen stopped off in Dresden en route to Italy to meet Dahl and Friedrich. The exhibition explores around 40 works Friedrich, Dahl, Johan Thomas Lundbye, Anton Melbye, Carl Friederic Sørensen and others.  who studied at the Academy and in later years worked in Dresden, as well as those of Eckerburg and his students – and features their seascapes, patriotic landscapes, and figure studies. The paintings will move to the Staatliche Museum in Schwerin after the exhibition as an essential part of the Gallery of Romanticism.