KØBKE, Christen
(b. 1810, København, d. 1848, København)

Portrait of Frederik Sødring

1832
Oil on canvas, 42 x 38 cm
Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen

A plant is a significant presence in the portrait that the leading Danish painter of the age, Christen Købke, painted of his friend Frederik Sødring (1809-62) on his birthday in 1832. The smiling, ruddy cheeked landscape painter is seated palette in hand. The vigorous ivy in a pot behind him has a multiple purpose, standing for the friendship that binds artist and sitter, and the creativity that enables him to mediate between nature and the ideal - represented respectively by the pictures of a cow and of Roman ruins pinned to the wall. Once again, while adopting the organic image of creativity common to Romanticism, Købke's picture presents a wholesome, outgoing impression of the artist's life.