An enigmatic atmosphere rests over the coastal landscape Skejten close by Fuglsang Kunstmuseum. A landscape that the artist Olaf Rude was closely familiar with from childhood.
Art historian Susanne Bangert tells here how Olaf Rude lifts nature up in a special league. Because there is more between heaven and earth in the painting from Skejten.
Why is the painting here so remarkable?
“I think it's a super exciting work of art. There is more between heaven and earth in this picture.
Olaf Rude manages to capture the essence of the place and its atmosphere. He could have painted it as a realistic rendering. So realistic as a photograph. But instead he was interested in reproducing his personal impression of the mood of the landscape. And in that way lifts nature up into another league.
Skejten was not just any landscape for him. It was his childhood land. He had grown up nearby on the farm Borretlund near Frejlev.
Skejten is within walking distance of the museum, so you can go there yourself and see it with your own eyes. ”
What did Olaf Rude want with the artwork?
“Olaf Rude had just made his debut as an artist and was in the process of finding his style. He wanted away from a realistic imagery with many details.
So he gives himself the leg up to work with a landscape that he knows inside and out. But try to look at it with a new look. A symbolic gaze, it makes the landscape a mental image.
The trees are no longer Skejten's crooked oak trees, but trees in the general sense. The water surface in the foreground is not one of Skejten's puddles with mud and frogs, but the door to another world.
His mind is reflected in the landscape. He and nature have made a covenant. They belong together. ”
What does the work of art tell about the time in which it was created?
“It testifies to the artists' new interest in the flat plain landscape that emerged in the late 1800s.
The interest is related to the fact that thinkers and artists were preoccupied with the idea of the sublime. The sublime is a philosophical term that denotes something that feels greater than one's comprehension ranks. Often a greatness or something violent. Many people probably know the feeling from, for example, nature experiences.
The plains could deliver that feeling with their infinite expanses when the artists used them as a motif. ”
Olaf Rude (1886-1957)
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 69,5 x 112 cm
Acquisition: Bought in 1987 with a grant from Ny Carlsbergfondet og Statens Museumsnævn
What characterizes Olaf Rude's technique?
“Olaf Rude's use of spatula is not to be missed. With the spatula, he has applied the paint in layers in different colors. In some places the paint is so thick that it becomes three-dimensional as a relief.
You have to experience the painting physically to be able to see the full effect. When you stand in front of it, it can give a feeling that the landscape is materially and physically present in the space. Like your body. It's not a distant world you imagine. It's right here. And it emphasizes the feeling of being in harmony with the landscape. ”
Three important details according to Susanne Bangert:
1."The quiet reflective water surface in the foreground is so mysterious and powerful that one almost expects the artist to emerge from the water as a supernatural being."
2.“Notice how many violent screaming colors are hiding in the greyish color scale. For example, blue and orange. ”
3.“If you look at the meadow, you can see how thick the paint is in some places. There is almost a depth as in a relief. ”
Please note that the work is not necessarily exhibited in the museum.
Susanne Bangert is an art historian and researcher. At the time of writing, she is affiliated Fuglsang Kunstmuseum in connection with a research project on landscape images.
Note: Danish only