The Danish Landscape
The Danish Golden Age 1800-50
Around 1840 the patriotic notion of a distinctly Danish national character took on central significance within political and cultural discussions. This was prompted by the mounting strife regarding the affiliation of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein to the Danish kingdom. In the duchies, the pro-German population wanted independence from Denmark and to form closer links to the German states. Within the realm of art the conflict meant that many younger Danish artist began to focus on specifically Danish motifs.
In rural areas
Spurred on by the art historian Niels Laurits Høyen, painters made their way out into the Danish landscape. Johan Thomas Lundbye in particular wanted to show that Denmark’s countryside was a match for Germany’s. Around the time of the outbreak of the Schleswig-Holstein war in 1848 several painters directed their full attention to “unspoilt” life in the country. The Schleswig-Holstein people lost the war in 1851, but in the 1864 war Denmark lost both duchies to Prussia.