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A highlight of Danish art

Joakim Skovgaard’s painting The Great Supper is not just regarded as Skovgaard’s masterpiece, but as one of the main masterpieces within Danish art as a whole.

Early draft for The Last Supper, Designmuseum Danmark.

Early draft for The Last Supper, Designmuseum Danmark.

Detail of The Last Supper by Joakim Skovgaard.

The simplicity of the composition, the movement and expression of the figures, and the way the figures are arranged in The Great Supper are all traits that characterise all the art for the Viborg Cathedral; a commission that fell to Joakim Skovgaard.

Architectural sentiments

Skovgaard refers to his ”architectural sentiments” on several occasions, and these sentiments served him well in his work for Viborg Domkirke; a task that lasted from the mid-1890s to the end of 1913.

The church is built in the Roman style and Skovgaard worked within the same style in his art, for as he said: ”…A cathedral is more demanding that a piece of canvas in a frame as regards attitude and style. A painting on a easel need not concern itself much with anything other than itself, while a mural must take into account the room which it will adorn.”

Popular appeal, simplicity, decorative colours, and monumental forms

The Great Supper encapsulates the essence of Joakim Skovgaard’s endeavours and ambitions as an artist. Only few other works of art can claim to so compellingly and successfully present biblical narratives carried by popular appeal, simplicity, decorative colours, and a keen sense of the monumental.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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