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to him that it was not he who had dragged the girl to the
cliff and thrown her over. If the dean wished to know



24 COLLET, ENDER, OTTO SINDING

who had done it he could tell him. But the dean said
" No ; it was only with Peer Hagbo that he had to do."
Bjornson ends thus : " This happened more than fifty
years ago. Since then (he adds satirically) NorM^ay has
utterly changed in every respect. But this is not a
picture, it is only a little short story ; but so graphically
told that it can only have been copied straight from
nature.

Of the painters that studied in Munich, the older
generation was far less important and interesting than
the succeeding one, which afterwards came under the
influence of the French open-air painting, though we have
a good representative in Frederik Collet. Born in 1839, he
began as a pupil of Gude's, but afterwards studied in
Munich, and later on was greatly influenced by the French
open-air tendency. At flrst he sought his subjects in the
south country fjord scenery, but afterwards made the
east country winter, with its masses of snow and half-
frozen rivers, his special study. His picture in tliis
gallery is perhaps a trifle uninteresting, but the whole is
unconventional and real — the turbid stream forcing its way
through the snow-covered flat, on which are nicely drawn
trees, with bare branches waving against the wintry sky.

The younger generation are, I am convinced, well
represented by the painters Axel Ender and Otto Sinding.
Axel Ender's picture "The Resurrection Morn" gives
distinction to the little church at Molde. It illuminates
the interior in a wonderful degree by its faint chaste
colouring. The surprise on the listening women's faces is
well rendered, and the angel's figure is easily poised on the
tomb.

Otto Sinding is altogether stronger. It would be
interesting to know what influence was exerted to make
these great men what they are. The versatile Otto was



THREE BROTHERS, HEYERDAHL, KROHG 25

born in 1842, and is a brother of the sculptor Stephen
Sinding, and of Christian Sinding the composer, each a
master of his art. Otto Sinding made his debut in
literature before he began his artistic studies, and tried to
find satisfaction in a variety of tasks. He divided his
great working powers between painting and literary or
scenic interests. He has painted marine pictures and
genre, historical scenes, representations of fishing life on
the Norwegian coast, landscapes, peasant life, and fishing
in the Lofoten Islands. These latter works, to my mind,
are as good if not better than any I have seen from
his brush. On page 228 is a very impressive rendering
of a fishing village among the Lofotens, The snow is
deep over the cabins and fields that lie at the foot of
great walls of rock, whose peaks jut into the mists. At
the head of the fjord are the square-sailed cod boats.
Hard frost is wonderfully suggested ; the smoke rises
straight into the still air. It is quite a typical scene in
Norway, treated in a masterly fashion.

On page 17, "The Two Sisters," by Hans Heyerdahl,
is a revelation. He, Werenskiold, Christian Krohg, Fritz
Thaulow, Gustav Wentzel, and Gerhard Munthe are
the true Norwegian school. All studied in Munich, and
afterwards in Paris. Their eyes were trained through
French art to open-air painting, but on their return to
Norway they freed themselves from foreign influences,
and worked with full consciousness for the nationalising
of Norwegian art. How well they have succeeded can be
traced on the walls of this gallery. Hans Heyerdahl is a
colourist. His beautiful picture of " The Two Sisters " was
painted after his return to Norway, and is to my mind
the most pleasing picture on the walls. It is the ripe
fruit of the twofold influence of open-air painting and
realism. The girls are real girls, with no attempt to



26 ERIK WERENSKIOLD

beautify or smooth. Thinking of nothing, they are
charming as representatives of sweet early girlhood. I
have heard it said that Heyerdahl was not a profoundly
thoughtful painter. However this may be, his talent has
a sense and enjoyment of beauty, a love of delicate form,
and a marvellous appreciation of colour.

The actual leaders in the hard fight that led in the
eighties to the victory of naturalism are Erik Werens-
kiold and Christian Krohg. Werenskiold, as I have
said before, studied in Munich from 1875 to 1880, but
early emancipated himself from the artistic views of
his teachers. He avoided picture galleries, and ac-
knowledged no other source of instruction than the
immediate study of nature. In the numerous pictures
exhibited by the French painters in Munich in 1879
he realised the road he would wish to follow in the
future ; and going to Paris for three years, he became
a thorough convert. In 1883 he settled in Norway, where
he became the artist who most clearly formulated the
programme of the tendency. His subjects are chiefly
limited to the ordinary everyday life in Norway, and
to portraits. Everything he does bears the stamp of
solidity, but in the solidity charm is not lacking. When
I came upon Ibsen's portrait it was like an oasis in a
mediocre desert of canvas. I called to my companion
to come. Here is something really worth looking at.
His answer was : " Well, you come here first. I fancy
this must be by the same man." " A country funeral."
So it was. A great deal of pathos is shown in its
unforced realism ; the landscape is as important a part
of the picture as the figures themselves, and the colour
and lighting are as natural as can be. The shadow
side of the faces catches the reflection of the pale-blue
sky ; the cast shadows on the ground, the grave covered



FRITZ THAULOW 27

with the evenly cut sods ; all are in keeping. The expres-
sion on the men's faces is a perfect study. The types
are absolutely common-place, just the people you first
meet, without any selection. Werenskiold has aimed
at simple truth, and it could not be better done. His
" Telemarken Peasant Girls," No, 302 in this gallery, are
also excellent.

In Fritz Thaulow we have an artist who seems to
belong to ourselves as well as to Norway. A well-known
figure in London society, he was greatly looked up to
and beloved by all who came into contact with him.
His artist friends in England hold his memory in high
esteem, and it is not too much to say that his death
was deeply regretted by the whole fraternity. Thaulow
was the central figure in the young generation of artists.
He studied in Copenhagen, and then in Carlsruhe under
Gude ; but his three years in Paris did more for him
than all his previous training. Enthusiastic, handsome,
full of good-humour, highly sensitive to impressions of
the beautiful, he stands yet another leader in the cause
of naturalism. In his earlier work he represented the
clear Norwegian winter's day with great freshness, but
he was extraordinarily facile. I do not think that of
his multitudinous productions this gallery has by any
means the best.

I must not miss out Eyolf Soot. The Norwegians
claim that he is the greatest colourist of the company.
Never mind at what end of the gallery you may be, his
dramatic " Infanticide "" calls you. It might be con-
sidered an importunate picture. One associates a cow-
shed with the birth of our Lord, not with the death of
a new-born infant. My sympathy goes out to the poor
young mother, kneeling on the dirty ground, gazing
into the future with terrified eyes. The light falls in



28 EYOLF SOOT, GUSTAV WENTEGEL

gently, and the cow in the next stall is evidently feeding
unconcernedly. Soot is the pointiste of the brotherhood.
His methods are seen in the portraits of Jonas Lie and
his wife. The iridescent touches lie side by side ; looked
at from a distance, they melt into one tone.

Gustav Wentegel is the last that I have space to
talk of in this chapter. Born in 1859, Norway con-
siders him one of the most eminent of this generation.
In his masterpiece of colouring, " Frokost " (Breakfast),
he depicts the less well-to-do classes in the capital devour-
ing a meal and printed matter at the same time. The
grouping is unconventional, most of the heads are seen
against a window, through which one catches a glimpse
of a street, and one of the ugly modern Norwegian
churches. The light breeze can almost be felt as it
blows through the muslin curtains. A little bare-armed
girl has come for a helping to a nondescript-looking
person whose back is towards us. All the rest of the
people are hard at work drinking, or poring over their
books. The whole is very up-to-date and realistic.
None of the men or women are at all good-looking,
but they are undoubted flesh and blood.

Sculpture was at a very low ebb at the beginning of the
nineteenth century. The world looked up to Thorvaldsen
as the marvel of his age, though truly in the present
day it is difficult to see anything to admire in the
pappy, lifeless masonry of this prolific Avorker. It seems
wonderful to think that when Thorvaldsen was at the
height of his fame Lord Elgin was actually bringing to
the notice of the world the matchless work of Phidias,
and yet no one of that day could see the enormous gulf
which separated the two. Thorvaldsen''s great hall with
its faded frescoes, drawing the attention of the passers-by
to the honours lavished on the departed, stands, tarnished







CARVED DOOR FROM OLD CHURCH AT HAl.LIXGDAl.



PEASANT-BORN SCULPTORS 29

and out of fashion, a blot in the beautiful capital of
Copenhagen. Compare this with the Parthenon, grandly
crowning the Acropolis ; even in its ruin the most
perfect monument in the world.

The earlier peasant-born sculptors in Norway were
far more talented as ornament carvers than as sculptors.
It took them some time to cast off their wood-carving
traditions and turn from the ornamental, in which they
excelled, to the free representation of the human figure.
As their woodwork is in every way superior to their
sculpture, it is lucky for the present generation that the
early productions of these old masters of carving are
to be found in the art museums at Rosenberg, the
museums of Scandinavian antiquities in Copenhagen, in
the museum at Bergen, and in the Museum of Industrial
Art at the corner of the Universitets-Gaden here. The
Historical Museum that is to contain a wonderful
collection of northern antiquities, including the two
Viking ships, will shortly be opened, — public works move
slowly in Norway. When finished it will be a harbour
of refuge for the lovely carved doors of the old Stave-
kirker, mediaeval objects, remains of the Stone, Bronze,
and Iron Age, and coins.

The Norwegian sculptors of our century begin with
Hans Michelsen, who as a soldier attracted the attention
of his superiors by his wonderful wood carving. From
1819 to 1826 he received monetary aid which enabled
him to study in Rome under Thorvaldsen. One meets
his work in Trondhjem Cathedral, in the figures of the
twelve apostles that he was commissioned to sculpt by
King Carl Johan.

In the second generation we have Bach, whose
" Jephthah's Daughter," No. 396, stands in the vestibule
in company of Stephen Sinding's "Barbarian Mother,"



30 MATHIAS SKEIBROK, STEPHEN SINDING

but with a wide gulf between. Bach, like Michelsen,
Middelthun, the ever-hard-up struggling Hansen, and
Olaf Olafsen Glosimodt, were all based on Thorvaldsen.
See Middelthun's statue of "Halfdan Kjerulf," also his
statue of " Schweigaard " that stands in front of the
University. Glosimodt, again, executed a number of
busts of famous Norwegians, and a rather nice statue of
the " Saeter Girl," but it is by his splendid works in ivory,
box-wood, and ornamental wood carving that his reputa-
tion lives.

The third generation is still an echo of Thorvaldsen.
Bergslien, belonging to a peasant family famous for its
artistic abilities, goes to Copenhagen, and executes in
marble several of Thorvaldsen's works for the museum. He
comes back to Norway and is entrusted with the equestrian
statue of " Carl Johan " which stands in front of the palace,
and afterwards with the statue of the creator of Norwegain
literature, " Henrik Wergeland," which stands in the
Eidsvolds-Plads. Fladager, again, who was a highly gifted
wood carver, drifts into sculpture when he would have been
far better employed at his wood carving. This effort can
be studied in No. 117 in his model and sketch of an angel
with font, which can be seen in place in the Vor Frelsers
Church, Now look, as we did, at Mathias Skeibrok's
" Ragnar Lodbrok among the Serpents," and his statue of
"Tired," — a servant-maid, fallen asleep from weariness,
a figure full of feeling and truth. Pause and study and
note the great stride he has made, then go on and look at
Sinding*'s " Captive Mother " and " A ma Femme," and you
will realise that Thorvaldsen"'s art is dead, and that
Norway is ready to hold her own in Europe. The rooms
adjoining the vestibule contain the casts from the
sculptures of ancient Greece. Here we wandered, renew-
ing our old acquaintance with matchless Venus de Milo,



CASTS FROM THE ANTIQUE 31

Theseus ; the headless Ilissus, and the Centaurs in conflict
with the Lapithae ; — all taken from the ruins of the
Parthenon. They were but plaster, yet we could not tear
ourselves away, and lingered over them lovingly and
long.



CHAPTER III
CHRISTIANIA— HOLMENKOLLEN

WITH a head full of art, I proposed that our next
course should consist of nature, pure and un-
adulterated, and suggested that we could find both nature
and food at Holmenkollen, one of the most delightful
spots in the environs of Christiania. The city tram takes
one to the terminus at Majorstuen, and the electric car
goes from the terminus to Holmenkollen. Should one be
doubtful about the fare a few small coins presented in the
palm to the collector is sufficient. He will take what is
his due, and nothing more. The line runs past several
nice country houses, and through a new villa colony,
neatly built and gaily coloured, through pine forest,
where, here and there, one catches a glimpse of the fjord,
till Midstuen is reached. From there is a short steep
walk to the Tourist Hotel. This is a truly picturesque
building, with much carving ; pent roofs, from which jut
ornamental dragon heads ; long balconies where it is
possible to have a cosy meal ; broad terraces with in-
numerable little tables and chairs, and a covered-in
bandstand.

I left it to our hostess to provide what she thought
best for our very late lunch or Norwegian dinner. I had
found out by this time why public buildings were only
open from twelve to three. Three o'clock is the dinner
hour, when all doors are locked and the streets are empty.









.l^^':^'''



-mi



OSCARSHAL 33

Sitting on the terrace, awaiting our repast, we enjoyed to
the full the lovely view from this coign of vantage. It had
rained once or twice during the morning, and the sun was
now chasing the great white clouds whose shadows swept
swiftly over the smooth, brilliant, green sward of the
downs.

To the left the town, with its big stucco houses and
church steeples, spreads along the shore. The glazed tile
roofs glisten — and twinkle ; beautiful deep blue smooth
hills covered with a thick growth of pine encircle the two
fjords (Christiania and Bunde) on every side ; and these
stretch away out of sight. Islands, large and small, raise
their rocky heads. On our left are the pine-clad hills of
Ekeberg, at the foot of which runs in the Bjorvik, divided
by the peninsula on which stands the old fortress of
Akershus. Pipervik is the landing-place where our ship's
launches run to and fro to the Vectis. She looks quite
imposing anchored between the shore and the island of
Horedo, while beyond again rises Bliko.

To the right is the peninsula of Bygdo, on which is the
chateau of Oscarshal. The white well-kept road, running
between the tall pines, spruce, and birch that flank it on
either side, goes gently uphill till it reaches the Hall,
which is the same that I spoke of as containing examples
of Tidemand's art representing Norsk peasant life. The
walls are also adorned by Norwegian landscapes by Frich.
In the drawing-room on the ground-floor are statues by
Michelsen ; bas-reliefs by C. Borch, from Frithjofs saga;
and landscapes by H. Gude. Nothing in Oscarshal com-
pares to my mind with the weird room in this hotel,
decorated by Gerad Munthe. This artist has done much
towards the colour and composition for the weaving of the
delightful cloths used for hangings, which are now the
prevailing styles in this flourishing Norwegian trade.
3



34 THE FAIRY-TALE ROOM

The Fairy-tale room, as it is called, is unique. It is
decorated with grotesque polychrome, fairy scenes carved
in wood and fantastically ornamented. This is the room
that the Queen uses when she, in company of the King
and little Prince Olaf, honours Holmenkollen with her
presence. Her visits are much talked of by mine hostess.
The door has long hinges that run across, great tongues
of floral flames. On either side are weird-faced Jotnar
holding keys in their beak-like mouths, carved as heads to
the tree columns that form the door-posts. Over the
door the legend runs —



"to^



" Ndrdan under fjallo.
Djupt under hello.
Der leikar ded."

Panels, illustrating fairy tales, run round the room over a
handsomely carved dado, each panel being framed by an
extraordinary pattern of threaded beads. The ceiling is
carved in a geometrical wheel pattern, intersected with
zebra-marked beams. The chairs are also fantastic,
rather Chippendale in pattern, but with a great bird, with
erected crest, forming the top of the back. The crest is
repeated again on the left-hand front leg. This is an
upper room and should not be missed. Downstairs, too,
are many interesting objects — tankards, the old-fashioned
carved wooden irons, queer candlesticks, and some good
pictures.

From this hotel the road still leads upwards, connecting
the Frognersaeter with Holmenkollen, the Keiser Wilhelms
Veien it is called, which runs almost all the way through
the woods to the saeter, which last was purchased by the
city of Christiania. The former Villa Heftye contains a
collection of Norse antiquities. There are a few old
Norwegian timber buildings, from Telemarken and the



A NORWEGIAN WINTER 35

Hallingdal, but this is, as Herodotus remarks, " As I have
heard say."" We were contented with Holmenkollen and
its view, and worked quietly on till the hour approached
for the dinner launch at Pipervik, which waits for no man,
not even the captain.

In winter, when the fjord is frozen, which, according to
the chart, it invariably is, every house in Christiania on
fete days is forsaken. All the people are gathered either
at the top or the bottom of the Holmenkolbakken,
assembled in their thousands on their ski and in sledges
to witness the sports. "To us," our hostess remarked,
" the winter is more interesting. We then have hundreds
of people, and the air is so pure," The same sentiments
exactly as are breathed by Bjornson in a sketch on his
country and people, written for Harper''s Magazine, in
which he avei's that a journey through the country in
winter is better than the ordinary summer touring. He
maintains that the people are then seen to advantage,
and that such a journey is better for one's health. He
writes: "To make this last clear, I must explain that
Norway is not the cold country which its geographical
position would lead one to believe. The reasons for this
are two : a warm current runs along the Norwegian coast,
fills the space inside the great banks and islands, and
passes into the fjords ; these same banks prevent also the
ice water from the polar seas from reaching the coast. Is
it possible that this should also have an effect upon the
people of the country? Is this the reason that this
northern country of ours, when it, about five hundred
years since, only had a population of from two to three
hundred thousand inhabitants, produced that succession
of men and deeds of which Snorre Sturlasson's great work.
The Heimskringla, has given a description — a pattern for
all times ?



36 NOTABLE MEN

"Is this the reason that our small nation, when its
strength again began to revive after destructive civil wars
and other great misfortunes (such as that raging epidemic,
the ' Black Death,' and another just as great, the miser-
able Danish rule through four hundred years), produced
that master-spirit of wit, Ludvig Holberg, Moliere's rival ;
produced a ' folk-poesy ' which in legends, songs, melodies,
and tunes may compare with that of any other country ;
and which in the com*se of time has begotten a literature
and music which are even creating considerable attention
outside our own borders ? The composers Edvard Grieg
and Johan Svendsen are counted among the first of living
musicians ; Selmer and Binding are also rising in renown.
Executants such as Ole Bull, Erika, Lie-Nissen, and
Edmund Neupert are well known in the musical world.
Henrik Ibsen's dramas, the Germans declare, have opened
up a new road in dramatic art. Alexander Kielland's
witty sketches of modern life are now as widely read in
Germany, Austria, and Hungary as in the Scandinavian
countries. Norway has also produced the greatest mathe-
matician of our time. Nils Abel, who died in 1829. Only
twenty-seven years old, after having enriched mathematical
science with epoch-marking discoveries. ..."

" Norway is a ' winter land,' and in my eyes it is then it
is most beautiful ; white valleys, dark grey rocks, and
mountains covered with forests. How finely the latter
stand out against the white background ! Or, perhaps,
the naked mountains are overrun by frozen streams and
torrents, which shine in all colours from greyish white,
emerald green, to rusty yellow ; one part of the forest
stands snow powdered, another partly powdered, and yet
another wholly green, and by its side the birch trees
delicately rime-frosted to their finest tips, or standing out
brownish blue against the verdant pines and firs. The



CLEANLY CHRISTIANIA 37

many buildings on the farmsteads, with their snowclad
roofs, lie comfortably nestled together in the dazzling
white snowfields. I do not understand why people who
travel for the sake of their health do not choose the
winter in which to visit Norway. And the air ! There
is no bacteria in that air."

We landed at Pipervik again next morning to do
what we could of the town. It was delightfully fresh,
the wide, clean streets newly swept and watered. It
seems a veritable white city, where the householder cleans
his windows and house fronts, thus embellishing his town
more effectually than the erection of grand buildings,
though these are not wanting. Karl Joans Gade is
flanked with fine houses, extending from the palace at
the west end to the station at the east. This is a grand
street, some three-quarters of a mile long, with Eidsvold
plads in front, with its rustling green trees and cool shade
— the Bond Street of Christiania. On the west side stands
the National Theatre, with colossal statues of Ibsen and
Bjornson by Stephen Sinding, and beyond a bronze statue
of Johan Brum the actor, by B. Bergslien. Then there is
the University founded by Frederick vi. of Denmark in
1811, at the back of which are the Viking ships in their
wooden sheds, and beyond again, but farther down the
Eidsvold plads, the handsome fa9ade of the Norwegian
House of Parliament.

The Norwegian faith is Lutheran, and the churches
in their internal arrangements indicate Luther"'s courage.
It has not been thought necessary to mutilate the artistic
remains of the old religion. The pictures, statues, and
gilding are allowed to remain. The ornamentation is
not very remarkable, but there is enough to show that
the Northmen have not rushed into the barbaric reaction
which led at the Reformation to the wanton destruction



38 THE OLDEST RAILWAY

of glorious old cathedrals and religious houses. The
botanical gardens, too, which are situated a little way
out of the town, are really what they pretend to be.
They contain specimens of the common wild plants of
the country, growing in the open air, and arranged in
their natural order.

We happened on a lucky day for the big market. All
Christiania and its country neighbours had assembled in
the Stor Torv, that was bright with vegetables, fruit, and
flowers. The country carts stood patiently in lines behind
the stalls. I had great hopes of seeing some of the
wonderful costumes one hears tell off. But no, the all-


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