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Notice board used for preparations

Notice board used for preparations

Hammershøi | 9.sep.2011

Understatements?

For some weeks now my notice board has been home to a number of portraits – drawings, paintings, and photographs – by Hammershøi and fellow artists from his day.  These portraits are often close-ups of people in introspective moods. A kind of contemplative portraits.

The exhibition will present a wide range of portraits of this kind: portraits where the mood or atmosphere is more important than the wish to create traditional portraits where you can look straight into the sitter’s eyes.

Via Facebook we have received a request that we should address “the psychological aspects behind the understated qualities in Hammershøi’s works" on this blog. In the case of several of the photographs I believe that Hammershøi, with his sensuous approach to painting and drawing and his insistence on introspective or contemplative figures, works with a kind of psychology of painting. In other words he does not tell us much – he is understated in terms of narrative – but many will feel a lot in front of the works. A different kind of rapport is established between picture and beholder.

I cannot really speak with any authority about the psychological aspects behind the understated qualities of Hammershøi’s works, but I have noted the strong attraction that this phenomenon exerts: the less that a given painting states overtly, the greater the desire to examine individual brushstrokes and the engrossing atmosphere that the paintings exude.

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