Vilhelm Hammershøi was born in 1864 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
My first real introduction to Hammershøi’s paintings was through Michael Palin’s excellent BBC documentary The mystery of Hammershøi. Even though I had seen his paintings before hanging in various art museums I never really noticed them. They are awfully quiet. Upon a first glance they appear cold, dull and without cheer. But with quieter reflection they speak volumes.
Brilliantly and meticulously painted, one is in awe of the details, while you are appreciating this, a sense of welcomed silence can be felt and heard.
Those empty rooms, the woman with her back turned (the model was his wife) and those greys and pale blues. What unobtrusive work and yet they are there for us to admire. Louder paintings tend to claim our attention in the museums of the world that we over look Hammershøi. Next time you’re in an art museum, check to see if they have any Hammershøi paintings and be prepared to be moved.
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