Sunday, May 28, 2006

On formal austerity and limited colour scale


The paintings of Vilhelm Hammershoi are noted for their quiet, austere simplicity, and tonal studies of light and shade. He lived and worked mainly in the old quarter of Copenhagen, and painted portraits, landscapes, architectural subjects, and, above all, Vermeer-like interiors, usually with a figure standing or seated. His paintings convey the particular Danish mix of puritanism and neoclassicism, psychological complexity and guarded modesty. In 1902, Hammerhoi painted The Buildings of the Asiatic Company, seen from St. Annæ Gade. Two building, a late baroque palace and an adjacent warehouse, joined by an arched portal. The frontallity of the painting centres around the void between the buildings, accentuated by a quite limited colour palette, held in shades of grey and grey-brown

The same calm scenery can still be experienced today, more than 100 years later. Sam Renseiw caught a short glimpse of a motorised VIP exit trough the gate recently. View the Hammershoi setting in motion, or enter the gate above. ( patafilm #178, 01'11'', 5.2 MB, mov/quicktime -Flash version here)

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