1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eckersberg, Kristoffer
ECKERSBERG, KRISTOFFER (1783–1853), Danish painter, was born in south Jutland. He became successively the pupil of Nikolaj Abildgaard and of J. L. David. From 1810 to 1813 he lived at Paris under the direction of the latter, and then proceeded, as an independent artist, to Rome, where he worked until 1816 in close fellowship with Thorwaldsen. His paintings from this period—“The Spartan Boy,” “Bacchus and Ariadne” and “Ulysses”—testify to the influence of the great sculptor over the art of Eckersberg. Returning to Copenhagen, he found himself easily able to take the first place among the Danish painters of his time, and his portraits especially were in extreme popularity. It is claimed for Eckersberg by the native critics that “he created a Danish colour,” that is to say, he was the first painter who threw off conventional tones and the pseudo-classical landscape, in exchange for the clear atmosphere and natural outlines of Danish scenery. But Denmark has no heroic landscape, and Eckersberg in losing the golden commonplaces scarcely succeeds in being delightful. His landscapes, however, are pure and true, while in his figure-pieces he is almost invariably conventional and old-fashioned. He was president of the Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Charlottenburg.