Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 276

) for his newly built country house close to Altona, outside of Hamburg. There, it still hangs on
public display.
The year after, Jensen painted the Loeb Collection’s
Flower and grapes on a stone sill
. The picture has two
components: A flat, tightly composed Grecian kylix (drinking bowl) on foot with large, angular handles,
black with a narrow, red line at the top, well filled with blue and yellow grapes, so that a part of the yellow
ones are gushing out over the edge, as it should in a still life. Both color and shape indicate that there are
two kinds of blue and two kinds of yellow grapes. Illuminated yellow ones are in the foreground while
shaded blue ones are to the back. The blue trusses show their stems and overtly draw attention to having
been picked by a human hand.
We do not see the foot of kylix. In front of it is the other component of the picture, a freshly plucked
flower bouquet, unbound, chosen for its contrast in color and shape, with a single crimson dahlia as focal
point. This flower radiates energy in its outlines and unifies all picture elements with its color. Around it
unfolds a radiant blue iris with soft shapes, lustrous, filled dahlias in yellow and white shades, rosa primula,
a red sage. Green boxwood branches stretch manifold up against the black clay vessel.
As the grapes hang over the curved edge of the kylix, so the flowers spread over the unswerving edge
of the marble sill. This can be understood geometrically as circle over square, but it can also be conceived
as an exchange between inorganic, manmade shapes and nature’s own inventions.
Most often, Jensen employs a simply cast stone sill or marble tabletop in his pictures. Here, the sill has
had further classical profiling. Above the display is empty and uncluttered space. The monochrome of the
background, the two-colored grapes and below, the polychrome of the flowers, give a compelling falling
cadence, springing from the stem of the upper blue truss of grapes.
The Etruscan vessels, as the Grecian vases were then called because they first were found in Italy, in
Etruria, originate from ancient Greece. In the
s, they practically toppled out of the ground there, and
also in southern Italy, and became important collector’s items. Most famous were the collections of the
diplomat Lord William Hamilton (
) from his time in Naples, a part of which are now at the British
Museum in London.
Prince Christian Frederik was also a keen collector. The vase collection in the palace at Amalienborg
was his dearest place of dwelling, and is now the core of the antique collection at the National Museum in
Copenhagen. Bertel Thorvaldsen also collected, and J. L. Jensen painted a magnificent bouquet in a Grecian
vase that Thorvaldsen bought.
Furthermore, in Sorrento in
, the flower painter carried out a sumptu-
ous composition consisting of a bouquet in a Grecian vase that was bought by Prince Christian Frederik.
The Greek fascination of the artists, scientists and collectors of the
s was the spiritual climate from
which many of Jensen’s Italian pictures emerged. The Loeb collection’s
Flower and grapes on a stone sill
is an
eminent example of this.
According to Bruun Rasmussen, the painting is mounted in a period bobinet frame with corner ornamentation.
. The diary is written in French (my translation). Albert Fabritius et al. (eds.),
Christian VIII. Dagbøger og optegnelser
, Copen-
, Vol. II,
, p.
Nature morte med frugter på en marmor-bordplade
, oil on canvas,
½ x
in. (
cm), Thorvaldsens Museum, inv.no. B
K. Olsen, H. Topsøe-Jensen (eds.),
H.C. Andersens dagbøger
, Copenhagen
, Vol.
, p.
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