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Young Woman on a Bench, Christian Krohg - Description of the Painting

02 May 2022
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Young Woman on a Bench - Christian Krohg.


The great Norwegian supporter of realism style, Christian Krohg, was seriously influenced by French impressionism, which is particularly noticeable in this painting, depicting a young girl sitting in a park or other large estate near a heavily overgrown pond or river.

She is surrounded by untouched nature, where the traces of minimal human intervention are found. This is just a simple bench, made of a simple board put on the stumps, and a rough fence constructed of a thin, unfinished tree trunk. The rest of the world appears before us in a virgin, untouched form.

In the distance, behind the water, there are individual groups of low trees and large bushes visible; also, behind the girl’s back grows an old branchy tree having several curved trunks, quite characteristic of the harsh northern nature.

But the world around the girl is full of colors; when looking closely at the canvas, one can notice hundreds of small plants and herbs, painted with sharp and energetic brushstrokes. The girl's face is painted using the same technique - spectacular strokes emphasizing the sun glare falling on it through the rare foliage of the tree.

But, the girl’s light yellow dress and beret are depicted in a completely different style. This color organically fits it into the ambient nature, adding succulence to the composition, but still remaining within the color scheme. The dress seems to be monolithic, except for its folds which have been depicted pretty schematically.

The diagonal barrier line presented by the raw logs as well as the position of the girl's body nearly following it add depth to the composition, and the mastery of the artist fills the painting with light and air, making it almost truly voluminous.

This painting definitely deserves to be considered an amazingly organic combination of realistic vision and impressionistic painting style, having resulted in this exceptionally expressive and memorable canvas.
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