Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853), At a Window in the Artist's Studio, 1852
The two figures in the picture are probably C.W. Eckersberg’s daughters, Julie and Emilie, who despite their small stature were adults when Eckersberg used them as models.
The two women in the picture
The artist positioned the women by one of the studio windows facing Kongens Nytorv. They do not look out the window, but are reading a book. Their position next to the tall windowsill makes them look smaller than they are. The scene with the two women is virtually empty of narrative content.
The real subject of the picture: The room
The picture’s real subject could be said to be the room in which the scene takes place. It is clearly structured with a strong accent on light and surfaces. All elements are perfectly balanced in relation to each other, the dark curtain is linked to the partially or fully lit shutters, stressing the surface that is repeated and broken by the stepladder and the paintbox on the stool; indeed the dense light in the entire room is carefully harmonised with the paler light outside.
Inner harmony as contrast to chaos
As in many of his other works, Eckersberg uses mathematics and the principles of perspective to construct a universe where an inner harmony, determined by the rational laws of nature, could keep chaos at bay.