Danish artist Christian Eckardt is known predominantly for his peaceful and romantic marine scenes and seascapes, although he also executed a number of portraits and landscapes during his career.
Eckardt seems to have derived much inspiration from his surroundings both in his native Denmark and during his travels to other European countries such as Germany and Italy. A scene of the roiling rocks off the harbour of Genoa demonstrates Eckardt’s gentle hand and light colour palette.
The ocean waves are unthreatening in their wash of aquamarine tones, the sky a cloudless canvas of pastel hues.
Indeed, Eckardt infused every marine scene with this blend of harmonious colours which at times touch on the fantastical. His work finds balance, however, with detailed and compositionally sound depictions of boats set amongst these calm waters and chromatic skies.
This style of art appealed to a number of buyers in Denmark, embodying the popular romantic movement that was sweeping through Denmark in the 19th century. Eckardt found trade with private buyers and art collectors. The prominent art collector Johan Hansen (1838-1913) purchased a number of his works. Eckardt also found work for prominent marine merchants such as J.A. Larsen, depicting his ships in all their glory. Here, once again, a more romantic lens would have been appealing.
Eckardt, like many Danish artists of the 19th century, was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. His relationship with the Academy would remain fruitful throughout his life. Eckardt won multiple travel scholarships and prizes from them, giving his work recognition and allowing him to travel further afield to develop his craft.
Eckardt also completed woodcut engravings of maritime events for Danish periodicals. Such widespread publication would have enhanced the painterly side of his career. Indeed, perhaps he was chosen for this job in the first place owing to the quality of his other works.
There is the potential, too, that Eckardt was a sailor for some time, an experience which surely would have contributed to the development of his art. He joined the Danish army for a year, between 1857-1858, which is when he very possibly took to the seas himself. Any other motives for this short, sudden change in career remain unclear. Perhaps a man who enjoyed travelling found that first-hand experience was the greatest catalyst for artistic drive.
A number of Eckdart’s works are now held in museum collections across Denmark, including Copenhagen and Keterminde.
Born in Copenhagen.
Began studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
Began studying at the Model School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
Embarked on travels to Germany and Italy.
Began exhibiting his works.
Served as a soldier in the Danish army.
Married Sophie Marie Magdalene Bless.
Won the Neuhausen Prize.
Won the Neuhausen Prize.
Received a travel grant from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
Died in Copenhagen. Buried in Vestre Cemetery.