Nicolai Abildgaard - the man and the artist

Facts in brief about Nicolai Abildgaard

  • Lived 1743-1809
  • Professor at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen from 1778 to his death in 1809. Director of the same 1789-91 and again from 1801-09.
  • Considered one of the father figures of Danish art, but has always been seen as a controversial figure in Danish art history.
  • Multi-talented artist: Historical painter, architect, furniture designer, satirist, illustrator, costume designer, political activist and book collector with his own library.
  • Widely read artist with special interest in motifs from antiquity and Nordic mythology, Shakespeare, the Scottish bard Ossian and Danish history.
  • Known for his dramatic style with bulging muscles, posed and contorted figures – often with political and erotic undertones.
  • Staunch support of the period’s philosophy of enlightenment and reform policy, and a sharp critic of social inequality and injustice.
  • The non-Danish father of Danish painting

Art histories and SMK Digital

These pages dedicated to Abildgaard will give you a preview of what we are working on in Art (Hi)stories, a part of the National Gallery of Denmark’s digital project SMK Digital. At the end of 2010 we will unveil an entire universe of art (hi)stories on the web, where you will be able to encounter many artists and discover their works.

SMK Digital is financed by the Nordea fund.

Art (Hi)stories is proudly presented in cooperation with Naxos Records

The Body in Pieces

Body and Power

The Ghost of Tradition

The Body of Revolution

Eroticism, Love and Relief

Back to Nicolai Abildgaard - Revolution Embodied

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Updated: 26.apr.2018
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