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Fresh bread, Christian Krohg - Description of the Painting

07 May 2022
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Fresh bread - Christian Krohg. Canvas, oil. 80 x 60 cm


Krohg wrote his "Fresh Bread" painting in 1879, when he teamed up with other young compatriot painters, among whom he met the like-minded people. Christian Krohg used to portray the side of Norwegian life that Bohemians either could not or did not want to see. The painter was constantly surrounded by the tiptop - the aristocracy, the creative intelligentsia and the rich people. In the meantime, he sympathized with both socialist and internationalist ideas.

Despite Christian Krohg’s popularity among the elite, his creations differed from what the elite was used to seeing. The depiction of the day-to-day life of ordinary people, so exhausted by hard work, was actually intended to draw attention to the important social matters.

Christian Krogh is a portrait painter for whom veracity and substance are more important than beauty and glossiness. The painter captured episodes from the lives of fishermen, workers, sailors, and soldiers, without conveying complex storylines or emotional intensity; he rather depicted these people as the central figures of his paintings, thereby paying tribute to them. His works with female figures carry a slightly different message.

Krohg created such work with a special drama, and "Fresh Bread" one of the vivid examples of same. Here we can observe an old woman cutting bread, which she probably baked herself. There are three small fixed paintings that can be seen in the background of the painting, further emphasizing the emptiness of the walls. The table is also not too rich, with the only item on it being a bowl of porridge. A woman cuts the bread very carefully, since the poverty and hard work taught her to treat bread with special trepidation, knowing how hard it is to obtain it.

The painting is written using a restrained palette of colors, to convey the modesty of the life of the heroine. Christian Krogh was also a master at recreating chiaroscuro, as he often worked in the plein-air technique, implying the transfer of shades and tones, changing under the influence of light. The painter recreated the lighting in the room with photographic accuracy.
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