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Johann Ludvig Gebhard Lund

1777 Kiel – 1867 Copenhagen

The Danish history painter, Johann Ludvig Lund, studied under Nicolai Abildgaard at the Copenhagen Academy from 1797 to 1799. During his studies he made friends with his fellow pupil, Caspar David Friedrich, whom he followed to Dresden in 1799 to continue his training at the Academy there. In the summer of 1800 Lund went to Paris, where he was taught by Jacques-Louis David. He subsequently spent eight years in Italy from 1802 to 1810. In Rome the young artist was welcomed into the circle of artists and scholars from Germany and Denmark who gathered around Wilhelm and Caroline von Humboldt and Friederike Brun. Lund was in close contact with Bertel Thorvaldsen and the Nazarene community of artists and in 1819 sub­mitted two religious history paintings for the German artists’ exhibition at the Palazzo Caffarelli in Rome. Lund’s artistic career was blessed by good fortune from the outset, for the same year he returned with Thorvaldsen to Copenhagen to take up an appointment as a professor at the Academy. He subsequently produced monumental history paintings along with altar-pieces and devotional pictures, which founded his reputation in Denmark as a painter of historical scenes. In his early period Lund was still greatly influenced by the stringent classicism of Abildgaard and David. Later on, following his second stay in Italy (1816–19), he embraced a roman­tic, profoundly religious view of art in imitation of the Nazarenes. Thanks to an influential teaching career extending over forty years, Lund exerted a lasting influence on the following generations of Danish artists. Among his students were Ditlev Blunck, Dankvart Dreyer, Vilhelm Kyhn, Johan Thomas Lundbye and P. C. Skovgaard.