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Landscape with a fjord and a family in a boat, Hans Dahl



Landscape with a fjord and a family in a boat - Hans Dahl


The canvases by this Norwegian master do not pretend to be pathetic, neither do they depict cataclysms shaking the world to the ground. The artist glorifies his homeland and its calm, balanced and hardworking people in the most lyrical and peaceful way.

His works present the everyday life of the peaceful people - peasants and workers. One will not find any pretentious luxury or exquisite plots on these pictures, but they are even more touching the hearts of the viewers.

This painting shows another plain plot: a fisherman's family is heading somewhere about their business in a small sailing craft. But just look at how it is done! You will immediately feel the cool and damp sea air, turning the calm surface of the fjord into sharp spikes of a glassy water.

The image of the sea deserves separate description – this artist, like no one else, succeed in conveying the special brilliance of the sea water and its clarity. The water is shown as alive, moving, voluminous and remarkably naturalistic, and this is what is especially attractive in all his paintings. None of them has the cold “terseness” of academic work, and, at the same time, they do not have that carelessness of impressionism, thus representing a unique mix of two completely different painting techniques.

The vast expanse of the fjord with high rocky shores visible far in the distance, serves as the background of this painting. Hidden by a bluish fog, they add depth and realism to the painting, without making it dull and inexpressive, due to the presence of the bright colors using which the craft and its passengers, a patch of green coast seen on the left, as well as the rich emerald hues of the water in the foreground of the picture are depicted. So, despite the foggy weather, the painting pleases the viewer with the richness colors and creates a truly festive feeling.

The subject impression is supported by the attire of the main female character of the picture. We can see her in almost all paintings by Dahl, she may be treated as his calling card. Her bright and ruddy cheeks seem to have borrowed a hue from her nice scarlet folk-style waistcoat, while her blue scarf around her neck, fluttering in the wind, serves as the evidence of the high speed of the craft. A woman is chatting with a man having the southwest on his head, smiling joyfully, while their blond-haired daughter is sitting at the stern – she is a real child of the North.

The picture is very peaceful; when looking at it, one might think that the rest of the world is so far away. But should the viewers peer into the picture, they will notice the tiny silhouette of another vessel. And note that this is not an isolated case, but rather a part of the overall picture of being.
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