A new kind of art emerges in Düsseldorf

During the middle of the 19th century the Arts Academy of Düsseldorf became a centre for European genre and landscape painting. Artists from all over the Nordic countries travelled to this city by the Rhine in order to study with others of like mind. Among them were several hundreds of Finnish artists such as Werner Holmberg, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm, Fanny Churberg and Berndt Lindholm. Two Ålanders who studied at Düsseldorf were Karl Emanuel Jansson (1846-74) and Anders August Jansson (1859-82).

Having sketched at home, the artists then travelled to Düsseldorf to finish their paintings in a studio. All painting of this kind had its basis in careful nature studies in that several meticulous sketches with tiny details were assembled into complete landscape paintings.

Although the Düsseldorf School of painting did strive to depict nature, it was not a question of nature such as it is, but as a romanticized idea. Stressing all things idyllic and picturesque, artists often portrayed scenes and chores of old. As Nationalism gained a hold of society, artists also incorporated more and more nationalistic elements in their paintings.

 

Karl Emanuel Jansson (1846-74), Åländsk bondbrud (detail), 1869, OOC, Finnish National Gallery, Ateneum Art Museum.