Frederiksborg Castle

MAKER:
Artist

Johan Christian Dahl ( Norwegian, 1788 - 1857 )

DATE:
1817
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General Description

Denmark's Frederiksborg Castle, the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia, appears here in a dramatically moonlit view. The moon is hidden behind the trees, but its reflection sparkles in the castle's windows and in the artificial lake in the foreground. The castle was a favorite subject of the young landscape painter Johan Christian Dahl. Born in Norway and trained in Denmark, Dahl quickly found patrons for his work among Danish royalty and aristocracy. This early masterpiece was commissioned by a state councilor in 1817, the same year that the king of Denmark ordered two smaller views of Frederiksborg from Dahl.

In 1818, Dahl resettled in Dresden, where he became well known for his Romantic paintings of Nordic landscapes often seen in dramatic lighting or weather conditions. His interest in exploring the visual and psychological effects of moonlight was shared by a number of his contemporaries, particularly the German painter Caspar David Friedrich, one of his closest friends later in life.

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