Anna Ancher. Harvesters, 1905. Art Museums of Skagen, Denmark. Attribution: Google Art Project, Public Domain.

study days

Scandinavian Art, 1750-1910

  • Tuesday 2 July 2024
  • Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ
  • Lecturer: Kathy McLauchlan

During the nineteenth century the Scandinavian art scene was transformed into one we might recognise as ‘modern’. Painters, writers and composers led the way in awakening nationalist aspirations. At the same time, they became leading figures in the rise of European modernism.

Lecture 1
Lands of Myth
This lecture provides a short survey of the Scandinavian art scene. It evokes the unique fascination which started to depict its peoples, landscapes and myths.

Lecture 2
Denmark’s Golden Age
The Napoleonic Wars were catastrophic for Denmark. This lecture looks at the remarkable national and cultural rebirth that occurred in the wake of this disaster, and the work of leading masters.

Lecture 3
Finding the Light: Scandinavia’s Modern Breakthrough
The late nineteenth century is associated with a modern ‘awakening’ in Scandinavian art. Painters travelled to Paris in search of the latest ideas in naturalist painting. Back home they applied their findings in exploring the unique characteristics of the Nordic landscape.

Lecture 4
An Art for Dreaming
By 1900 Scandinavian artists were at the forefront of the Symbolism movement; art used to convey ideas rather than describe external reality. Some expressed outrage at modern society; others withdrew into a silent interior world; while in Finland Gallen-Kallela used painting to express his dreams of national renewal.


 Kathy McLauchlan graduated at Oxford University and The Courtauld. In 2001 she completed a PhD thesis on French painters in Rome. Specialising in European art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she is currently a course director at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where she organises courses and study days on the history of art and design.

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