Room 217A

Absolute Monarchy, the Rise of the Middle Classes, and Academy of Arts in Denmark

Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1800

Jens Juel, Portrait of the sculpturer Jacques-François-Joseph Saly, 1772

C.G. Pilo, Louise, Frederik V's First Queen in her Coronation Robes, 1747

The decades from 1750 to 1800 was a period of great upheaval in Denmark. This was the last flourishing period of the Danish absolute monarchy. The king was the unrivalled centre of the country, actively supported by the nobility, and all of the most prominent artists of the period were associated with the court. The monarch’s position is reflected in the works of the leading portrait painter of the time, the Swedish artist Pilo, who depicted the king and queen as elevated far above their subjects, surrounded by clouds and dressed in floating, gossamer garb.

Revolution and evolution

However, the middle class was on the rise and strove for greater influence, both financially and culturally. No violent revolution like the one in France ensued, but power structures gradually changed. Middle-class values gained ground, and art took on a much more realistic quality. People were toppled from their ethereal clouds and transposed to real surroundings.

Jens Juel, The Artist and his Wife Rosine, née Dørschel, 1791

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Updated: 26.apr.2018
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