Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Danish Venus: Model by Konstantin Hansen

Hvilende (Model) (1839)

Carl Christian Konstantin Hansen was born in Rome on November 3, 1804. His father, the portrait painter Hans Hansen moved the family to Vienna shortly afterwards where Mozart's widow became his godmother.

Carl Christian Konstantin Hansen 1804-1880

The family moved back to Copenhagen where he entered the architecture school of the Royal Danish Academy of Art at 12 years of age, but he changed his course to painting at the age of 21. He studied under Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg. In the late 1820s both his parents died of typhoid and he had to support his remaining family, taking over some of his father's commissions.

Et selskap af danske kunstnere i Rom (A group of Danish Artists in Rome) (1837)

From 1835 until 1838 he travelled through Germany and Italy with some other Danish artists, Roed, Købke and Hilker, eventually staying in Italy for eight years. Returning to Denmark he worked on many mythological paintings; producing frescos for the University of Copenhagen with Hilker and also producing works for Roskilde Cathedral.

Flyvende måge, Klovvig (1924) by Elise Konstntin Hansen

He married in 1846, and had nine children. One of his daughters, Kristiane Konstantin Hansen, became a tapestry weaver and another Elise Konstantin Hansen, became a recognized painter, producing some good landscapes, often featuring birds.

He died in 1880.

The nude "model" is unusual for the period in including pubic and underarm hair. This suggests that it was an exercise or, possibly, a private commission. It dates from his Rome period so she was probably an Italian girl. I am not aware of any other Hansen nudes so this is a sole, but nice, example.

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