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Alpine landscape with a shepherdess and goats, Hans Dahl



Alpine landscape with a shepherdess and goats - Hans Dahl


This charming picture belongs to the series of works by the artists from far northern country, poetically painting the rural life of Norway. The works of this kind might be treated as a fairy tale, originated in the painter’s head, or rather, the ideal image, isolated from the socio-economic realities.

This forms both the attractiveness of all pictures created by Dahl, and their specific detachment from modernity. After all, when looking at the painting, the viewer cannot see any sing of a specific time - this makes these works a temporary abstraction, where no one will ever notice any signs of modern civilization. These works seem to combine "yesterday, today, tomorrow" of Norway in a single ideal image.

The present alpine landscape is particularly endowed with the marks of "timelessness". It is so beautiful and colorful, with steep mountains and rocks, and in the distance, there is a flowing river, resembling a silver snake; lovely and clean goats could equally exist yesterday and thousands of years ago.

A peasant woman carrying a rake on her shoulder is one of those characters repeatedly appearing on the artist's paintings in nearly unchanged form. This young beauty is wearing a national bright-colored attire, setting her apart from the background and making her an integral part of it.

Scarlet – color of fire and passion – dominates here. Although it can be seen only on the girl’s vest, which is sewn following the folk motives, and on the border along the lower part of her dark, wide skirt, the subject tone seems to be widely present. Here the master supported the warm, rich color scheme with a girl’s fiery orange apron, featuring a barely noticeable tracery in a thin golden yellow stripe right across it.

Definitely, Hans Dahl is a truly undisputed master of color. In all his paintings the intense and warm colors of greenery and clothing are perfectly combined with the diluted cool hues of the sky, mountains, and water. Generally speaking, the subject work seems to be literally flooded with warm sunlight, leaving a very pleasant impression in the viewers.

The level of expansion of this work is impressive. There are thousands of elements of the landscape present, with the tiniest cracks in the rocks and the wiredrawn blades of grass lovingly captured by the artist for centuries. Owing to such an elaboration, the canvas seems alive and moving, with the flowers and herbs swaying as if influenced by an invisible breeze. The picture pleases the viewers with the volume and depth of the image; it could be viewed for hours, and this fact, despite the simplicity and banality of the plot, is an unquestionable achievement of the great artist.
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