27 Dec 2010

The painting of Hammershoi

Perhaps Hammershoi, a Danish painter of the late 19th and early 20th century, is not as well-kown as many French painters of this period. Yet in my opinion he should be. He is of course a star in his own country, and is known to amateurs elsewhere. The painting above is actually in one of the French national collections but of course, if you want to really get to grips with his work, you should go to Copenhagen.

Hammeshoi is one of the subtlest observers of light, and how light shapes and affects form, that I know. Mich of his painting was done indoors, so it can bear some resemblance to the work of Vermeer, minus the colours. Because he is almost a monochromatic painter. The soft and illuminating effect of light, and the calm, austere atmospheres, are very similar however.

I will return to Hammershoi in a future post. I love him for many reasons, and in all seasons.