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Scandinavian Drawings

Scandinavian drawings come from a compact geographic range with a wealth of disparate cultures including that of Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and Norway. This land has been home to a variety of indigenous and non-indigenous cultures including the Kongemose, Lihult, ancient Egyptians, and Phoenician Greece. The rich mythologies inherent to Scandinavia fused with outside artistic traditions have served to produce a distinct drawing sensibility.

Scandinavian drawings have been traced back to petroglyphs incised on the walls of caves during the prehistoric age. By the 19th century, Scandinavian drawings revealed the artistic influence of France and Britain as this region became increasingly assimilated with the rest of Western Europe. Scandinavian artists also often traveled to study in the great academies of Paris and London. While the style may appear heavily indebted to the classical traditions of the French or British, the subject matter and mise-en-scène is distinctly Scandinavian.

Quick Facts

  • Scandinavian drawings encompass all styles and subject matters ranging from genre scenes to sea- and cityscapes
  • The 19th-century Danish draftsman Christen Købke was particularly influenced by the work of German painter Caspar David Friedrich. Friedrich's epic yet austere aesthetic clearly appears reflected in the drawings of Købke
  • Drawings such as Danish draftsman Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg's "The Harbor of Copenhagen Seen from the Esplanade[…]" offer the modern viewer an insightful peek into the daily lives of Scandinavian people in the 19th century

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