143. Johan Thomas Lundbye

Kalundborg, Denmark 1818 – 1848 Bedstedt, Denmark

A Farm with a Hay Cart, 1843

In the first entry of his journal of 1842-43, Lundbye wrote that, as a painter, he had set as his life goal to “paint dear Denmark, but with all the simplicity and humbleness that is so characteristic of it”.1 Apart from a brief journey to Italy in 1845-46, the artist spent his short life painting his native land. Though it omits any broader views of the Danish landscape, this luminous oil on paper certainly evokes the humbleness Lundbye aspired to capture. Monogrammed and dated at lower centre, 18 JTL 43, it was painted during his summer trip through North Zealand with fellow artist P.C. Skovgaard (1817–1875). The two were close friends, having first met in the registration office of the Copenhagen Academy when they were about 15. In another journal entry, Lundbye describes the influence his friend had on his work when he “watched and inflamed me to let the brush run without anxiety […] I painted best when Skovgaard was with me, and said: now paint the piles of seaweed there in 5 minutes! or: now put away the pointed brushes, and paint only broadly with the large flat brushes!”2 One wonders what words of encouragement Skovgaard had for Lundbye as he painted this hay cart bathed in a warm golden light.

1Johan Thomas Lundbyes, Journal, 24 March 1842, Dagbog A, side 1-5, Det kgl. Bibliotek NKS 4201, I, 4°, https://lundbye.ktdk.dk/n/PMcbPTxQ.

2Johan Thomas Lundbyes, Journal, 31 July 1842, Dagbog A, side 49, Det kgl. Bibliotek NKS 4201, I, 4°, https://lundbye.ktdk.dk/n/evxgeHTt.