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date: 07 December 2019

Melbye, (Daniel Herman) Antonlocked

(b Copenhagen, Feb 13, 1818; d Paris, Jan 10, 1875).
  • Elisabeth Cederstrøm


(b Copenhagen, Feb 13, 1818; d Paris, Jan 10, 1875).

Danish painter. He had originally wanted to be a sailor, but abandoned this ambition because of bad eyesight. Similarly, he later gave up training as a shipbuilder, deciding instead to become a marine painter. In 1838 he entered the Akademi for de Skonne Kunster in Copenhagen. He received private tuition from C. W. Eckersberg, and was one of several of his pupils who devoted themselves to marine painting. He exhibited for the first time in 1840, provoking an immediate response from the public. His early pictures followed the style of Eckersberg’s marine paintings, which are characterized by a heightened calm and clear colour, but Melbye soon moved towards a more international, Romantic style.

Melbye went on several voyages in order to study the sea at close range; one of his major works, Eddystone Lighthouse (1846; Copenhagen, Stat. Mus. Kst), resulted from a voyage to Morocco. In the painting an evocative atmosphere is created by the interplay between dramatic waves and a threatening sky. The lighthouse is a fixed point in the troubled seas. His studies of the sea, together with his thorough knowledge of shipbuilding, enabled him to produce a large number of paintings, many of them on a large scale. Melbye’s dramatic compositions and choice of colours were close to the genre style of painters of the Düsseldorf school, such as Johann Peter Hasenclever and Ludwig Knaus. From ...

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