Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853), The Marble Steps Leading to the Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome, 1814-16
In this painting of a medieval church in Rome, Eckersberg adopted a position that allowed him to create a firm composition of vertical and diagonal lines.
He meticulously reproduced sunlight and shadows as they appeared by mid-morning. With his images of Rome’s ancient and medieval architecture he introduced open-air painting within Danish art.
Unfamiliar motifs and unexpected angles
In a range of small scenes of this kind Eckersberg laid down the artistic principles he would follow ever since. He preferred to evade the most familiar motifs and often chose unexpected angles.
He emphasised perspective and stringent composition. In a new departure for Danish artists he would paint out of doors in front of his subject matter, carefully observing all details and recording the effects of daylight.