[Skip to Content]

C.W. Eckersberg

Through his art and his work as professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, C.W. Eckersberg, 1783-1853, who is known as the "father of Danish painting", was of crucial importance to the generation of Golden Age painters in Denmark.

Christoffer Wilhelm EckersbergBefore being appointed Professor at the Academy in 1818, Eckersberg had been a pupil of J.-L. David in Paris, who taught him the importance of being faithful to nature and the well-balanced composition and simple, light colouring of neo-classicism.

Eckersberg went on to Rome in 1813, and there he joined the circle around Thorvaldsen and executed a large number of architectural pictures and views of the city based on a mixture of sober realism and the classical principles of composition.

A major work from Rome is the portrait of Thorvaldsen (1814, Charlottenborg). The appointment as Professor in Copenhagen led to numerous commissions for portraits from the King, aristocracy and ordinary citizens, and in addition Eckersberg produced some large- scale history paintings, altarpieces and a large number of seascapes.

In particular in his later years Eckersberg was preoccupied with the theory of perspective, which together with plein air painting played an important part in his teaching. Among Eckersberg's pupils were Christen Købke, Wilhelm Marstrand and Constantin Hansen.

Vibeke Skov, Gyldendal Leksikon