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Ernst Josephson

Spanish blacksmiths

Spanish blacksmiths

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About the original:

Ernst Josephson stayed in Spain in 1881–82 together with several Nordic colleagues. Young artists traveled here to experience the colorful folk life, and not least to see the Spanish masters Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya in the museums. Josephson made two versions of the subject Spanish blacksmiths, and it is considered a high point of his realist period. He told the following about the creation in a letter:

What took me most as a subject is two blacksmiths and a blacksmith, who stood outside the blacksmith shop and grinned at the sun. They asked me themselves if I wasn't going to paint them then, and the following day I was there with a large canvas and painted for a fortnight on the sunny farm.

It was in the Roma quarter of Triana in Seville that Josephson met de tregitanos. The strong brushstrokes emphasize the roughness of the figures. Their dark skin, hair and eyes are accentuated by the placement in front of a light lime wall. The painting gives an immediate feeling of strong sunlight and we understand that we are in more southern regions.

When Spanish blacksmiths were exhibited for the first time in 1885, the brutal honesty seemed offensive to critics and the public. The boldness and the "rude" vitality that these three ragged workers exuded were probably perceived as a threat to the ideals and way of life of the bourgeoisie.

Ernst Josephson's career is divided into two: before and after the onset of insanity. In 1888 he was hospitalized with a diagnosis of paranoia. However, he continued his artistic activity and created significant pictures. He also wrote poems after the onset of the illness.

Text: Vibeke Waallann Hansen

Date: 1882

Other titles: Spanish Blacksmiths (ENG)

Designation: Painting

Material and technique: Oil on canvas

Technique: Oil

Material: Canvas

Dimensions: 128 x 107 cm

Subject: Visual arts

Classification: 532 - Visual arts

Motif type: Genre

Acquisition: Purchased 1894

Inventory no.: NG.M.00438

Part of exhibition: The dance of life. The collection from antiquity to 1950, 2011 - 2019

The 1880s in Nordic painting, 1985 - 1986

Reason and feelings. Nordic painting and sculpture from the collections, 2009

The 1880s in Nordic painting, 1986

The 1880s in Nordic painting, 1986

The 1880s in Nordic painting, 1985

Registration level: Single object

Owner and collection: The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Visual Art Collections

Photo: Larsen, Frode

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