Zealand Landscape. Open Country in North Zealand, 1842
Johan Thomas Lundbye
Oil on canvas, 94.5 x 127.5 cm
Statens Museum for Kunst, KMS 402
Propelled by his Romantic sentiments, Lundbye left the capital behind to seek out subject matter in the countryside. Even then there was little unspoiled countryside left in Denmark. On Zealand in particular, the open landscapes were almost all cultivated. At first, he sought to compensate for this fact by not painting the obviously cultivated fields, focusing instead on the wilder-looking commons where the touch of human hands was less evident. Lundbye sought to convey typical and universal features of the landscapes rather individual traits of specific localities. When painting this open, slightly hilly landscape he based his work loosely on the two studies he painted on-site, displacing individual elements in order to create bold lines in his composition. He opted for a low perspective, giving the shrubs and stones in the foreground a dominant position in the picture. Characteristically, Lundbye simply called the painting "Zealand Landscape" when he exhibited it in 1842.