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Lars Hertervig



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About the original:

A dreamlike silence characterizes the landscape motif from the artist's birthplace, Borgøya in Tysvær in Rogaland. The picture is not a realistic representation of nature, but is based on the romanticism's basic idea of ​​the subjective interpretation. It is Hertervig's personal experience of the landscape that we are presented here. Through his emphasis on the largest mountain's steep rise, it appears strangely high in relation to the surrounding rock formations. The mountain takes on a strangely majestic expression. Partly hidden behind enigmatic fog, it seems to glide forth from a hazy cloud, where, like the ships close by, it rests softly above the still water.

A distinctive, enigmatic light characterizes nature. In the distance the light is almost mother-of-pearl, and in the foreground harder. The stones near us are described in detail and matter-of-factly, and therefore seem more perceptibly present. This suggests a separation between our close, physical reality and a distant, non-physical dimension. Centrally placed in the image, the cliff stands as an awe-inspiring portal, as a transition from one reality to another. In such a context, the small, faintly hinted ships appear as a picture of man's destiny and the journey from life to death.

There is an atmosphere characterized by peace and quiet in the image. This is emphasized by the composition's stabilizing centering around the mountain, which helps convey an impression of something permanent and unchanging.

Text: Nina Denney Ness

Date: 1867

Other titles: Iceland Borgøya (ENG)

Designation: Painting

Material and technique: Oil on canvas

Technique: Oil

Material: Canvas

Dimensions: 61.7 x 69.5 cm

Subject: Visual arts

Classification: 532 - Visual arts

Motif: Landscape

Photo: Lathion, Jacques

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Lars Hertervig

Lars Hertervig was a Norwegian painter. In his nature paintings, he interprets a heartfelt and sometimes ecstatic experience of nature, which puts him in a unique position in Norwegian landscape art. He learned painting in Stavanger and was then helped to study further at the Royal School of Design in Oslo under Johannes Flintoe, Joachim Frich and Johan F. Eckersberg in 1851–1852 and in Düsseldorf under Hans Gude in 1852–54. An outbreak of illness interrupted his studies in the spring of 1854, and neither a sea voyage to Spain nor a stay at the Gaustad mental asylum (1856–58) brought recovery. During his stay in Skånevik, he created powerful syntheses of western nature: Ved smien and Rullestadjuvet (1855–1856, Rogaland Art Museum), gloomy dramatic stormy moods expressed in a personal form of great intensity, further The Old Bridge (1856, Rogaland Art Museum) and Summer Landscape in thunderstorm (1856, National Museum/National Gallery). Pictures such as Fjordbunn and some watercolors with similar motifs are filled with a dream-like silence and peace. Hertervig spent the years 1859–1865 on Borgøya in Tysvær, where he was born, and in the next couple of years he painted a series of pictures in Stavanger in rich chords of blue and brown, or in bright, clear tones of an enamel-like sheen, where he interprets a heartfelt and sometimes ecstatic experience of nature that puts him in a special position in Norwegian landscape art. Well-known works from this period are Gamle furutrær (1865, Rogaland Art Museum), Skogtjern (1865, National Museum/National Gallery), Stavanger seen from Våland (1865, Bergen Art Museum), Vårsildfiske (1866, National Museum/National Gallery), From Tysvær and From Borgøya ( both 1867, the National Museum/National Gallery). After 1867 he had no money to paint in oil. On the other hand, his rich talent found expression in a number of strange watercolors and drawings. They lead us into a dream world full of ambiguous symbols, desolate forests, horses and riders, city lots with ghostly figures, stormy seas. Hertervig died lonely and forgotten in the poorhouse in Stavanger; only the writer Alexander Kielland and his sister the painter Kitty Kielland tried to advocate for him. Only at the Jubilee Exhibition in 1914 was he brought out of oblivion. The National Museum/National Gallery in Oslo owns eight pictures and a number of watercolors and drawings by him, and other major works can be found in the Bergen Art Museum and the Rogaland Art Museum.