Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 205

HEINRICH HANSEN
   ‒  
  .
Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg
,

(Uranienborg)
Oil,

½ x
⁴
/
in. (

x

cm)
Signed: H.H.

.
       :
Bruun Rasmussen, Auction

,

, lot

, ill.
         :
Charlottenborg, Foreningen for National Kunst, Kunstforeningen,
Mindeudstilling for Heinrich Hansen
,

, no.

.
         :
Birgit Jenvold,
Heinrich Hansen, kunstner i tid og rum
, Haderslev

(the finished painting is reproduced p.

);
Poul Grinder-Hansen (ed.):
Tycho Brahes verden. Danmark i Europa 1500-1650,
Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen

.
T
he name of Heinrich Hansen is linked to Frederiksborg Castle in several ways. This painting presents
part of the decorations that were started after the decision was made to rebuild the castle after the

fire and turn it into a museum of national history. The room where the motif was to be painted, was
intended to tell the story of the world-famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (

-

).
An undated letter fromHeinrich Hansen to his friend Ferdinand Meldahl (

-

), professor of archi-
tecture and director of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the man responsible for the rebuilding
of Frederiksborg, reads:
As agreed I herewith send the 2 sketches or preliminary works for the 2 paintings that it is
intended should be placed above the fireplace and above the door in the Tycho Brahe Room, representing Uranienborg
(the figures are those of Tycho introducing Queen Sophie to Anders Sørensen Vedel, who is handing the queen a col-
lection of medieval ballads) and Stjerneborg with some of the nocturnal life there in the service of astronomy. The
buildings are represented according to Tycho’s drawings and plans. I offer to paint these pictures
The painting in the Loeb collection must be identical to one of the submitted pictures to which Hansen
refers in his letter, which is presumably from

or

. In any event, it is a completely finished work in
itself and thus more than a preliminary study. The board of the Frederiksborg Museum approved it and its
companion piece. The works for the actual decoration, which are rather larger – the painting of Uraniborg
measures
⅔
ft. x
³⁄₅
ft. (

x

cm) – were signed by Heinrich Hansen that same year,

, and exhib-
ited in Charlottenborg in

. They still hang in the Frederiksborg Museum.
This example is typical of Hansen’s architectural painting. The big, idiosyncratic building no longer
existed in his day, so he painted a visualisation. We see Uraniborg, or Uranienborg, the original name of
which was Uraniburgum, created by the astronomer Tycho Brahe. His fame and dramatic life story were
never forgotten, and still awoke keen interest in later ages, especially in the historians, poets, composers and
painters of the

th century, and not only those in Denmark.
As was customary for young noblemen, Tycho Brahe had had a lengthy training, especially in Germany,
when he discovered a supernova in

and published a description of his observations the following year.
From

he was given generous financial support by the Danish King Frederik II, who in addition enfe-
offed
¹
him with the small island of Hven situated in the Sound between Denmark and Sweden and Danish
territory until

. Between

and

, Uraniborg was built according to Brahe’s designs, square with
a semicircular outbuilding at either end. It stood cornerwise at the center of another square, an enclosed
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
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