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Johann Christian Dahl - Coast of Capri - 1822 - Norwegian (24 February 1788 – 14 October 1857)

From the collection of CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF ART


The works of Johann Christian Dahl, (Another of his paintings of Capri: '''Skipbrudd ved Caprikysten''' ) like those of his more famous colleague Caspar David Friedrich exemplify Northern Romantic painting. After Dahl's arrival in Dresden in 1818, the two artists became friends and associates. They combined in their art a passionate observation of nature with profound spiritual symbolism. In Dahl's evocative Coast of Capri, moonlight, rocks, castle and boat are intended to stimulate meditations upon religion, nature, and the voyage of life. The light of the moon, guiding the fishing boat into its rocky harbor, may symbolize Christ's beneficence. Dahl painted Coast of Capri following a two-year stay in Italy that altered his painting style and subject matter. Always known for his meticulous execution and sober realism, after 1821 his technique became bolder and more fluid. He continued to produce atmospheric, evocative Italian landscapes throughout his career, using the drawings compiled on his visit.


Johan Christian Claussen Dahl (24 February 1788 – 14 October 1857), often known as J. C. Dahl or I. C. Dahl, was a Norwegian artist who is considered the first great romantic painter in Norway, the founder of the "golden age" of Norwegian painting, and one of the greatest European artists of all time. He is often described as "the father of Norwegian landscape painting" and is regarded as the first Norwegian Painter ever to reach a level of artistic accomplishment comparable to that attained by the greatest European artists of his day. He was also the first acquire genuine fame and cultural renown abroad. As one critic has put it, "J.C. Dahl occupies a central position in Norwegian artistic life of the first half of the 19th century.


In 1820 Crown Prince Christian Friedrich invited the artist Johann Christian Dahl to his summer residence, “Quisisana”, near Naples. Dahl stayed there for two weeks and met many other artists from the German-Danish artists’ settlement, before traveling on to Naples and Castellammare. After his arrival in Naples on 11 August, he began his studies on nature, observing living and dead subjects. Dahl made numerous trips to Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri, and Ischia, where he witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius on 20 December 1820. 


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