Harald Slott-Møller (1864-1937), Danish Landscape, 1891
With Danish Landscape, Harald Slott-Møller ushered in his new Symbolist outlook in 1891.
Combining different materials and techniques
Inspired by the English Arts & Crafts movement he abolished the conventional distinctions between art and crafts (or “decorative” art) by combining different materials and techniques. Even so, combining a cast-iron relief of an ear of corn with a naturalistically painted Danish summer landscape complete with a stork and blue skies is Slott-Møller’s own original take on the task at hand: creating a contemporary image to represent the fertility of the Danish countryside.
The storck and the corn as symbols
The gilt plate, the incorporation of the frame as an element with real significance to the total idiom, and the decorative stork symmetrically placed between the white clouds all ensure that the somewhat heavy-handed fertility symbols – the stork and the corn – do not make spectators take recourse in Danish patriotic art idioms when interpreting the painting.
Inspired by contemporary English art
The clash between materials and two different pictorial strategies leaves no doubt that Danish Landscape belongs to the 1890s. On the Danish art scene, Agnes and Harald Slott-Møller, both artists as well as husband and wife, were among the few artists who felt a close affinity with contemporary English art. In addition to William Morris (1834-1896), figures such as Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and the pre-Raphaelites fascinated and inspired the Danish artists.
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Harald Slott-Møller, Danish Landscape, 1891.
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