(b. 1856, København, d. 1933, København)


Danish painter, part of a family of painters, son of Peter Christian Skovgaard. He was trained in drawing and painting by his father in the Danish Golden Age tradition. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1871 to 1876 and attended Léon Bonnat's school in Paris in the winter of 1880-81 where he was influenced by the trend towards Realism. In the 1880s, he travelled to Italy and to Greece, where he was accompanied by Kristian Zahrtmann, developing an interest in Symbolism. In Rome, he was influenced by the Impressionist approach to painting taken by Theodor Philipsen.

From 1884, he experimented with decorating ceramics. Often depicting animals, his designs later led to sculptures completed together with Thorvald Bindesbøll.

From 1885, Skovgaard developed religious motifs in his paintings. His frescos in Viborg Cathedral took him five years to complete (1901-06), even though he had several assistants. In the medieval tradition, the frescos represent the principal Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments. He later redecorated the church ceiling (1912-13). The frescos in Viborg Cathedral are considered to be one of Denmark's major works of art.

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