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

View of One of the Lakes in Copenhagen

Oil on canvas, 134 x 179 cm
Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen

Købke's journey abroad in 1839 seems to have been the decisive influence on him. During this trip, he came into contact with German Romanticism in Dresden and with the landscape tradition of Rome, his principal destination. When he returned to Copenhagen, he made a series of remarkable studies of the city - particularly the areas around the Frederiksborg Castle - that display both a fidelity to observation and a delight in depicting people and places from striking and revealing viewpoints. His View of One of the Lakes in Copenhagen is the best known of these works.

The painting shows two figures on the edge of a jetty watching a departing boat. The whole mood of the picture - the Spartan design of the jetty and the tender melancholy of the evening sun - suggest sadness at separation. Yet nothing has been forced. It is a meaning discovered in, rather than imposed upon, a scene.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.