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Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg

(1783 Blåkrog – 1853 Copenhagen)

Study of a Kneeling Male Nude. Pencil on wove paper. 23.1 x 16.9 cm. Dated “Jan: 1827” at the bottom right.

Having won the gold medal at the Copenhagen Academy in 1809, Christoffer Eckersberg departed for a lengthy tour abroad, which ultimately took him to Paris in 1810. The instruction he received there from Jacques-Louis David had a major influence on his artistic career. In David’s studio Eckersberg discovered what he needed to develop as an artist, i.e. a consistent study of nature in which great importance was attached to drawing after the living model. Eckersberg later returned to nude studies time and again both as a professor for the model class at the Copenhagen Academy, a position to which he was appointed in 1817, and in his own works, among which paintings with female models are considered among the most outstanding in his entire oeuvre.

The present study, drawn with great reverence and concentration, was probably the outcome of lessons at the Academy. The unpretentiousness of the subject matter notwithstanding, the work has a certain grandeur and illustrates the artist’s consummate skill as a draughtsman. The softness and lustre of the pencil strokes recall the nude studies of his French contemporary, Prud’hon.

Provenance: With the inventory number “78” Eckersberg estate auction (no. III, 3 January 1855) in the bottom right-hand corner. 

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