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Summer day, Hans Dahl - Description of the Painting



Summer day - Hans Dahl. After 1900


This truly charming picture presents the hard work of the peasants as a holiday. The poeticization of everyday life is typical for almost all the master's paintings, devoted to the beauty of his home northern country and the local hardworking people. That is the reason why he applies bright and life-affirming colors when depicting the people's outfits, all of which are traditional national costumes, quite ordinary clothing, but shown with the love making them seem more elegant than ball gowns of princesses.

The picture shows a wide coastal landscape of the northern fjord and the mountains melting in a bluish haze on the opposite side of the gulf. The foreground of the painting is impressively detailed and painted using the bright and rich tones. The background of the picture is rather soft and vague, due to the delicate pearl tones applied in a cool color scheme. This resulted in the picture acquiring volume and "flesh", seeming to be alive and full of air.

If the viewers peer into the flowering meadow painted by the master, they will be surprised at his remarkable patience and skill. Every single blade of grass and flower seem to have been written out separately with the intention to create the feeling and appearance of a living variegated carpet at the foot of distant mountains.

Although the Norwegian nature is quite severe, the pictures written by Dahl seem full of color, as if no harsh winters exist here. This is the way he compensates for the harsh monotony of the bare rocks around him. The floral carpet is there to emphasize all the happiness of a warm summer day.

When looked at against this motley background, the outfits of the heroines of this painting start blooming with even brighter colors. These young peasant girls sailed here intending to collect all these beautiful flowers in haystacks. This can be easily understood by the huge wooden rake brought by the workers. They had to rule the craft themselves, no men are there with them, and one of the peasant girls deftly pulls it onto the rocky coast.

The attention of the viewers is drawn to the girls’ clothing, which is very bright, and the red color predominates. With the foil made of bluish mountains and water, and the flower bedspread on the ground, this scarlet color is truly burning with a flame, making one fixedly stare at the young and beautiful Norwegian girls.

The background of the canvas shows a couple of girls discussing something, with no attention paid to the audience. However, the main character of the painting, a young and ruddy beauty, looks straight into the eyes of the viewer, smiling as if guessing that even after a century there will be someone trying to unravel her secret.
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