Simonsen, Niels (1807-1885)

Artist Description

Copenhagen, 10-12-1807-Frederiksberg, 11-12-1885


In painter learn; Kunstakad. KBH. 1823, guide. with J.L. Lund, gipssk. March 1826, modelsk. Jan. 1827, little sølvmed. for modeling dec. 1827, st. sølvmed. for characters. model figure March 1828, little guldmed. Oct. 1829, it is. as billedh. in vain to st. guldmed. 1831, same as painter, 1833; a private pupil of C.W. Eckersberg 1828 and 1833.

Scholarships and honours:

Academy. Dec. 1828, as billedh. 1831, as a painter aug. 1832; Fund ad Usus and Sciences 1835-36; Ancker 1870; Treschow 1882; eration. of the Academy. in Munich, 1842; KBH. 1848; Sth. 1864.

Exhibitions (inter alia):

Charl. Spring 1827-35, 1837, 1839-40, 1847-49, 1851-52, 1854, 1856, 1859-67, 1869-86; KBH. Univ. 1843; Kunstakad., Sth. 1858, 1863; verdensudst., London, 1862; North. Kunstudst., Cph. 1872; Raadhusudst., Cph. 1901; Kunstakad. Paintings, Art foren., Cph. 1929; Artist foren. of 18. Nov., 1942; Since. art 1825-1855, Art foren., CPH. 1975.


Niels Simonsen trained both as a sculptor and painter, but apparently decided against joining the sculpture after unsuccessfully competed for the large gold medal. As more contemporary Danish artist colleagues chose the S to travel to Munich, where he stayed during the years 1834-45, only interrupted by shorter trips in southern Germany and Tyrol, as well as to Italy and Algeria. Munich was then one of Europe's leading art centers and especially attractive if you like S wanted to perfect themselves in battle painting. Simonsen's preferred motif circle were battle scenes between French and Arab soldiers, motives that had become popular after France's North African campaign and the conquest of Algeria 1830. As his role model, the French painter Horace Vernet, visited Algeria and overall impression, S studies and EthnoGraphics, as on return to Munich was applied to Arab motifs, which secured S prominently in Munich's artistic life. With European colonialism and the growing interest in foreign cultures were the Oriental motifs highly sought-after, and S did diligently use of its Arab material after the return journey to Denmark, sometimes in the form of something routine variations and iterations. S stands out as the most pure Danish orientalist, for whom the Orient, who of Vernet, e. Fromentin and a.-g. Decamps, was mainly a supplier of a colorful and exotic motif potential, which was applied as a model for the battle scenes, including pirate flumes, and ethnographic genre pictures as well as, to a lesser extent landscape shots. The international style and motif circle soon proved to be at odds with the benchmark domestic arts policy flow, with N.L. Høyen as mouthpiece preferred a Danish nature and culture rooted in national Visual Arts. Simonsen was instead an important figure among anti-Høyenianerne, Europeans. Høyen criticized Simonsen often virtuoso landscaped compositions to be characterized by superficial effect sensationalism, even when S was looking to move closer to the institutional vision of art through the national historical topics and Nordic publication of her images. On the other hand, enjoyed the S as the other Europeans great attention from the more conservative circles, including nobility and Royal family, and he was appointed to succeed 1854 Eckersberg as professor at the Academy of fine arts. As a prominent history and figure painter was S assigned a number of public commissions, mostly battle scenes and other events with links to the three-year war and the war in 1864, both in the form of dramatic, victorious battle scenes during the three-year war and heroiserende depictions of the anonymous soldier's greatness during the defeat in 1864. The latter as Infantrymen, who rescues a cannon on the return train from Dannevirke and Episode of the skirmish at sankelmark is with the scarce small clippings and the dramatic action concentration in line with efforts in the contemporary history painting, which, among other things. praktiseredes by Carl Bloch. As a professor and with its international training has S probably had an impact on the growing interest in the European figure painting, which in the beginning of the 1860s can be seen in Danish painting with artists such as Bloch and L.A. Schou.

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