Latest article

The Elephant in the Room: Post-war Portrayals of Man in Denmark and Germany

For more than 20 years after the end of World War II, the human figure constitutes what one might call the ‘elephant in the room’ in German art. The purpose with this article is t to offer an outside perspective on the Danish Portrayers of Man (‘menneskeskildrere’) – as represented by Palle Nielsen and Dan Sterup-Hansen – by comparing them to the contemporary German art scene. Not until 1965 did Georg Baselitz embark on his extensive series of depictions of fallen man.

By Liza Kaaring Published September 2019

About Perspective

Perspective is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to research that is of relevance to Danish art. The articles will primarily address art found at Danish museums, and will present research on theory, method or museology based on Danish museum practices.

Life, work and home-stead: A queer portrait of Kristian Zahrtmann

Around 1900, the Danish painter Kristian Zahrtmann creates a queer persona which cannot be separated from his art. In numerous paintings, he references himself, his dreams, and his home which – at the time – is clearly seen as an authentic self-portrait.

Zahrtmann’s Symposium: Ethics, History and Desire

The scene in Kristian Zahrtmann’s (1843-1917) Sokrates and Alkibiades, painted in 1911, is taken from Plato’s Symposium, which was one of the most widely used references for homosexual men among Zahrtmann’s contemporaries. Michael Hatt argue, that Zahrtmann’s use of this source is unlike other uses of Greek antiquity as an apologia for or a symbol of male homosexual love.

Alternative Female Roles in the History Paintings of Kristian Zahrtmann

During his lifetime, Kristian Zahrtmann (1843-1917) painted many works portraying women from the world of history and literature. What happens when the image is turned "upside down" with a queer interpretation of masculinity and performance?

Naked men, gazes and desire. Kristian Zahrtmann from a Nordic perspective

Kristian Zahrtmann’s (1843-1917) works allow the viewer to revel in male beauty – the paintings give generous opportunities to ogle men and their charms. Zahrtmann was not alone in his fascination for the subject of naked men in the early 1900s. Parallels within Nordic art offer further perspectives and reveal other artists who, through their works, contribute to a widespread adulation of the athletic male body.

Kristian Zahrtmann's Late History Paintings: The Artistic Persona of an Invert in Turn-of-the-Century Denmark (1995)

First published in Danish in Periskop. Forum for kunsthistorisk debat, 4, 1995, pp. 43-63

Introduction: Kristian Zahrtmann - Queer, Art and Passion

Five articles on Kristian Zahrtmann (1843–1917) as a queer artist.

Perceiving green – red, yellow and blue. The making and colour change of paintings by van Schrieck and Weie

How is our perception of an art work when pigments or colourants fade or unknowingly have disappeared? Will the eye compensate for this irreversible loss or are we left with a skewed impression or the artistic intent? Two paintings from the 17th and the 20th centuries attempt to offer an answer.

The Place of the Black Body in White History: Jeannette Ehlers’s decolonial interrogation of “the darker side of Western modernity”

European countries have been criticised for perpetuating colonial ways of thinking and white supremacy. This article asks: can contemporary art help us ‘decolonialise’ and rethink national history and identity, and create a space for racialised bodies in Western (art) history?

‘First you must draw, then you may paint’. P.C. Skovgaard the draughtsman

Skovgaard drew throughout his life and mastered a range of different drawing techniques. Aiming for wide-ranging insight into Skovgaard's use of drawing this article considers a varied selection from his very comprehensive production - from his earliest childhood drawings from the 1820s to his final pieces from the 1870s.

The topology of the image series. The singular and the composite in Kandinsky’s Small Worlds

What is the connection between a single image and the series that includes it? By using Kandinsky’s Small Worlds as an example this article investigates the series as a specific image category.

Girolamo Troppa’s ‘Four portraits of ancient philosophers’

Can Girolamo Troppa’s series be regarded as a visualisation of divine inspiration? And who are the four ‘philosophers’? The article discusses these questions, but also considers Troppa as a colourist and as a virtuoso painter.

A national collection on the drawing board. Centres for the collection of Danish drawings 1810–45

The idea of having a central collection of Danish drawings first arose back in the first half of the nineteenth century, and the earliest overtures for such a collection continue to have a great impact on our perception of Danish draughtsmanship today.

A humourist in the shadow of the swastika

How closely connected was Storm P. to the German nationalist movements in the 1930s and 1940s – was he a Nazi sympathiser? The article delves deeply into this controversial question about Denmark’s much-loved artist and humourist – a question first raised in 2008 by the weekly newspaper Weekendavisen.

Message in a Bottle to Systembolaget

Knud Pedersen came up with ideas and always realised them in the same distinctive way: one step at a time. His Systembolaget project began as an exhibition, but ended up as an exercise in making people partake without realising it.

Salvator Rosa’s Democritus and Diogenes in Copenhagen

Can Salvator Rosa’s paintings of Democritus and Diogenes be seen as reflections of the artist’s self-image as a Stoic painter-philosopher and of his endeavour to create sublime art? This complicated matter is elucidated in the present article.

Zinc, Paint loss and Harmony in blue

Degradation problems in Peder Severin Krøyer's paintings and the possible role of zinc white.

Eckersberg's satire on the subject of playing the lottery underwent a significant change from drawing to graphic series; a development that may well have saved him from compromising his career.

The Jew that Disappeared: C.W. Eckersberg and the Realm of Satire

Eckersberg's satire on the subject of playing the lottery underwent a significant change from drawing to graphic series; a development that may well have saved him from compromising his career.

“The Barber Painter”: John Christensen – a cult figure on the interwar art scene

The ‘Barber Painter’ John Christensen went from being a celebrated figure in the Danish art world to being a marginalized character in art history. Here new light is shed on John C. and his role in the art of his time.

For pleasure and for prizes. Danish plein-air painting of the 1820s

The introduction of plein-air painting in Denmark in the 1820s is traditionally attributed Eckersberg, but in fact students at the art academy were behind the initiative to paint outdoors.