Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann (1819-81), The Sculptor Jens Adolf Jerichau, the Artist’s Husband, 1846
The portrait was painted in 1846, the year that Elisabeth Baumann married the Danish sculptor Jerichau. In the background we see the result of the inspired artist’s work, a preliminary study for his breakthrough work Hercules and Hebe from 1845.
An alien figure
As a female artist who spoke German, had trained in Germany and painted in the German fashion Baumann had much to overcome when she made Copenhagen the base of her cosmopolitan artist’s life in 1848. She was called “an alien figure”, but she was no more alien than others who live suspended between two cultures.
By the mid-19th century internationalism had become something to be frightened of, so her “otherness” as a woman and artist was accentuated, making her life and work an even more eye-catching contrast to the typically Danish tempered constraint.