Silent Night by Viggo Johansen

Silent Night

(Stille Nacht)


Viggo Johansen

Silent Night by Viggo Johansen
1891   ·  Oil on canvas  ·  12.8 Megapixel  ·  Picture ID:211947   ·  Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen, Denmark / bridgemanimages.com


10.01.2019
Vera J.
Art print on Canvas glossy, 60cm x 48cm, stretched on stretcher.

10.01.2019
Vera J.
Art print on Canvas glossy, 60cm x 48cm, stretched on stretcher.

12.01.2018
Kerstin K.
Art print on Canvas glossy, 80cm x 64cm, stretched on stretcher. With picture frame 'Chiara'.
Viggo Johansen, a Danish painter, created the picture "Silent Night" in 1891, which translated means "Silent Night" or "Christmas Eve". Assigning it to realism, a family tradition on Christmas Eve forms the core of this story, preserving the appearance of a setting that the viewer may find true. Rather, it could also be a fantasy or a memory, the effect of which expresses a desire for the theme through the naturalness of the figures inserted. As a painter Viggo Johansen uses different styles, which can be understood as a reference to old Dutch painting as well as romanticism and even classicism. Yet the technique used by the painter is Neo-Impressionist as well as mysterious and romantic. So what can you see in the picture?

A well-off family or gathering stands in a darkened room on Christmas Eve, marveling at a brightly lit Christmas tree. The room, in which the scenery takes place, is well bourgeois furnished as living or dining room. On the left side of the room is a wall unit whose black surface threatens to blur with the shadows that the night creates. Nevertheless, this darkness is by no means daunting or frightening, but can be considered positive and beautiful under the terminology of black romanticism. In this wall unit is still life in the form of magnificent vases that still hold discreetly in the background and only briefly appear from the darkness by the fine light reflections of the near-sparkling Christmas candles. Some of these vases are decorated with flowers, while others are brilliant only through the shape. One of these still lifes in the foreground carries as a spherical top either a globe, but much more likely a snowball, with the hint of a real fantasy world, only in miniature format. Furthermore, there is a Roman-style bust in the lighter corner at the back right, which can be assigned to the classicism. The back and the right wall and the ceiling of the room are in the form of gray-beige stucco in the color of the sculpture and the transitions are flowing. The same applies to the plank floor, which merges in its course in the dark wood of the wall unit. With some paintings in the background, the interior design is completed and the viewer could switch to the persons, if there were not this plant in the background, whose branches branch out of a vase up to the ceiling.

Undoubtedly, the character design of the painter is by no means a mystery and delights both through the quiet love filled mood as well as their painting down to the smallest detail. A woman, perhaps the mother, is wrapped in a long one-piece skirt, with her back to the viewer. Arranged in a ringlet, she holds the hand of a little girl to her left, holding the hand of a barely older girl. This is followed by a boy and another child and an older boy. Whether there is another person behind the Christmas tree remains closed to the viewer. Again in the field of vision, there are two other girls, the elders of the children and the second oldest girl, who hands her hand to the woman in the foreground and thus closes the circle. The eyes of the children are all focused on the Christmas tree and exude on the one hand amazement, joy, but also deep connectedness and humility. Some children are looking straight ahead, though it is impossible to tell if they are looking at a figure in the tree or the candlelight. The smallest girl in the foreground and a boy, on the other hand, look up, whereby the orientation of the girl seems to be physical. In view of this, the facial expression of most of the children seems dreamy. Only the first boy on the left in the picture, who looks curiously under the Christmas tree, behaves ambivalent. Turning her face to the smallest girl again, the woman looks down in ringlets at the child. In the left background near the cabinet wall stands an elderly woman who is happy for the children. If children's clothes are playful and neither sumptuous nor poor, women's clothing can be considered as traditionally religious. Surprisingly, the gender of one of the children is not well defined because it looks like a boy in the face, yet dressed in a light dress.

On the one hand, romantic and beautiful, as well as following the Christian faith, something bothers me after having examined the picture several times. Almost all children enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree, a child curiously looks under it. A gift is under the tree, which, considering the situation, seems destined for all children. Symbolically, the Christian tradition of sharing and charity is sometimes emphasized here, but without losing the feeling that this is sometimes not a family. The absence of a male suggests that it is either an orphanage or a widowed woman with her children in the foreground. The mystery of the picture remains open and lives on the black-romantic mood of a dream or reality. © Meisterdrucke

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Other art prints by Viggo Johansen
Silent Night Lady in the Kitchen On the Farm Lambs head on a plate Alice Nordin Kitchen interior. The artists wife arranging flowers The Family of the Artist, 1895 Sunlight in the Dining-room, 1889 Sheep Grazing, Osterby, Skagen Portrait of a Lady  Glade julHappy Christmas The artists wife arranging flowers An Artists Gathering, 1903
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