Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 120

In

, after six years in Paris and Rome, Eckersberg returned to Copenhagen where he was in demand
for his historical paintings and portraits. He really only embarked on marine painting in the

’s, when he
went to great pains to make himself acquainted with the technical aspects of shipping, naval architecture,
rigging and navigation, making several friends among boat builders, master mariners and naval o
ffi
cers,
who shared their knowledge with him. Among these was Commander Peder Norden Sølling. Eckersberg’s
activities can be followed via the surviving diaries.
The
fi
rst marines he painted in the

’s—and there were many of them—were detailed and accurate
portrayals of ships, sometimes named, sometimes anonymous. Philip Weilbach remarked in

that dur-
ing this period he painted “speci
fi
cally nature’s moods,” and that his brushwork was gentler than later. In
time, Eckersberg’s marines came to bear the stamp of his passion for perspective and meteorological
phenomena.
In the painting in the Loeb collection, Eckersberg has placed his emphasis on describing the actual ship
and its position in the sea in the given climatic conditions. By way of motif it shows great similarity with
several of the dated paintings from

,

and

, but it seems to be livelier, freer and executed with
greater assurance, although it is still indebted to the tradition from the ship’s portrait. At the same time it
is an atmospheric nature scene, which might suggest some date in the

’s. Why, in the

’s, should Eck-
ersberg paint a ship that had long disappeared from Denmark? It might be because the “Najaden” was of a
particularly interesting construction, or because the frigate had taken part in famous battles.
As has emerged from this, it is not possible to produce a reliable dating for the painting in the Loeb col-
lection on basis of the information at present available. A comparison with the now unknown counterpart,
which, as said above, depicts a naval brig, could perhaps provide a di
ff
erent interpretation of the subject and
a more reliable date for when it was painted. At all events, the painting is a
fi
ne example of the marine paint-
ing in which the artistic aspects were crucial, and which it was Eckersberg’s achievement to create as a new
genre in Denmark.
E.F.
¹
I ammost grateful to the following marine historians for a discussion on this painting: Hanne Poulsen (formerly curator in the Trade and Ship-
ping Museum, Kronborg in Elsinore), Jakob Seerup (curator in the Royal Danish Naval Museum in Copenhagen), Dr. Phil. Dorthe Falcon
Møller and Dr. Phil. Anders Monrad Møller.
²
Possibly identical with Ivar Norden Sølling (


), whose grandfather, Commander Peder Norden Sølling (


) was a close friend
of Eckersberg.
³
The identi
fi
cation is the work of Jakob Seerup,

. Information given to me in

.
Quoted from Hannover

, pp.
.
Hanne Poulsen,
Danske skibsportrætmalere
, Copenhagen

; Hanne Poulsen, Jes Jessen in:
Weilbach
, Vol.
, Copenhagen

.
H.D. Schepelern, Niels Truslew in
Weilbach
,
rd edition, Vol.
, Copenhagen

, is of the opinion that Eckersberg produced several original
sketches, though this view is rejected by Dorthe Falcon Møller in her biography on Niels Truslew, in
Weilbach
,
th edition, Vol.
, Copenhagen

.
Hannover

, p.

.
Jørgen Sthyr,
Dansk gra
fi
k


, Copenhagen

, pp.


.
C.W. Eckersberg
, Aarhus

, pp.


. Dorthe Falcon Møller told the present writer in

that no complete set of original sketches has been
found.
¹⁰
Om C.W. Eckersberg og hans mariner
, Copenhagen

, p.
.
¹¹
The Golden Age of Danish Painting
, Los Angeles

, p.

. There is no reference to documentation.

]
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