The Forum, Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the Distance

Object Details

Title:

The Forum, Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the Distance

Artist/Maker(s):

Christen Schjellerup Købke (Danish, 1810 - 1848)

Culture:

Danish

Date:

1841

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

70.8 x 87.9 cm (27 7/8 x 34 5/8 in.)

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Under a brilliant, clear blue sky, a sense of stillness and abandonment prevails in this scene, reinforced by creeping vegetation, grazing goats, and lizards scurrying across a dirt path. Behind the ancient city of Pompeii, Vesuvius silently looms, its presence serving as a terrifying reminder of the havoc it wrought in A.D. 79, when the city and its residents were buried beneath its molten lava. Christen Schjellerup Købke drew the architectural remains of the forum with sharp precision, giving the painting a sense of order and clarity. He added a sense of drama by intensifying the contrast between light and dark, painting the foreground fragments almost completely in shadow.

Excavations of the buried city began in 1748 and continue to this day. Scholars and curiosity seekers came in droves to see the ancient ruins. Købke was one of many artists to visit the site, where he made detailed studies. After returning to his native Copenhagen, he set to work on this painting.

Provenance
1841 - 1842

Christen Schjellerup Købke, Danish, 1810 - 1848 (Copenhagen, Denmark), by gift to the Kunstforeningen, 1842.

1842

Kunstforeningen (Copenhagen, Denmark), offered as a prize in lottery, won by Mr. Larpent, 1842.

1842 -

Mr. Larpent (Denmark)

before 1883 -

Mr. Wright (Elsinore, Denmark)

by 1884 - still in 1893

Mr. Deegen

by 1915 - 1930

K. Brandt [unsold, Brandt sale, Winkel & Magnussen, April 30-May 1, 1930, lot 76], by inheritance within the Brandt family.

Brandt Family, by inheritance to E. V. Brandt.

E. V. Brandt, by bequest to Svend Kragh-Jacobsen.

by 1965 - 1984

Svend Kragh-Jacobsen, 1909 - 1984 [sold, Kragh-Jacobsen sale, Arne Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, October 2, 1984, lot 6, to Artemis Fine Arts Ltd.]

1984 - 1985

Artemis Fine Arts Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Exhibitions
Danish Royal Academy Exhibition (1842)
  • Palais de Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, 1842
Malerier og Studier af Christen Schiellerup Købke (1884) (Cat. 92)
  • Kunstforeningen, (Copenhagen), 1884
Christen Købkes Malerier (March to April, 1912) (Cat. 168)
  • Kunstforeningen, (Copenhagen), March to April, 1912
Dansk Kunst, 1825-1855 (September 12 to October 19, 1975) (Cat. 73)
  • Kunstforeningen, (Copenhagen), September 12 to October 19, 1975
The Golden Age of Danish Painting (October 24, 1993 to April 24, 1994) (Cat. 76)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), October 21, 1993 to January 2, 1994
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), February 10 to April 24, 1994
  • Statens Museum for Kunst, (Copenhagen), May 21 to August 7, 1994
Christen Købke, 1810-1848 (February 10 to May 5, 1996) (Cat. 170)
  • Statens Museum for Kunst, (Copenhagen), February 10 to May 5, 1996
From Caspar David Friedrich to Gerhard Richter: German Paintings from Dresden (October 6, 2006 to April 29, 2007) (Cat. 170)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 6, 2006 to April 29, 2007
Pompeii and the Roman Villa (October 19, 2008 to October 4, 2009) (Cat. 150)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), October 19, 2008 to March 22, 2009
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), May 3 to October 4, 2009
The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection (September 12, 2012 to July 7, 2013) (71)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), September 12, 2012 to January 7, 2013
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), February 24 to July 7, 2013
Related Media
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    Audio: The Forum, Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the Distance (Exhibit: LAST_DAYS)