Christian Albrecht Jensen (1792-1870), Cathrine Jensen, née Lorenzen, the Artist's Wife, Wearing a Turban, c. 1842-44
To the patriotic art critics of the Golden Age of Danish painting, the internationally-minded style of painting adopted by the portrait painter C.A. Jensen was suspicious due to its use of rapid brushstrokes. The artist left them unfinished on his portraits of common and prominent citizens alike. The style imbued his portrayals with a fleeting quality that ethical gazes might regard as non-committal.
The artist's wife
The portrait of the artist’s wife, Cathrine, features the same style of painting. However, the model’s appearance is reproduced from a timeless perspective. Cathrine’s right hand in front of her lap and the multi-coloured turban forming a halo around her head are quotations from canonical depictions of women within European art history, specifically from ancient statues of Venus holding her hands to modestly cover her bosom and sex, and the Renaissance painter Raphael’s portrait of his mistress, La Fornarina, wearing a similar turban.
An image of love
In this way the artist created an image of his love in two ways. He raised the depiction of his wife beyond the specific moment, creating a timeless, placeless image of coveted femininity.