Arts & Culture

The Death of Queen Sophie Amalie

Kristian Zahrtmann1882

Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst

Surrounded by silverware and magnificent silks, the dowager queen Sophie Amalie (1628-1685) breathes her last. A grotesque figure whose status and wealth cannot deliver her from a violent and painful death by asphyxiation.

Leonora Christine's memoirs

The painting belongs to the group of around 100 pictures, studies, and sculptures that Zahrtmann created on the basis of Leonora Christine’s (1621-1698) memoirs Jammersminde (Memory of Woe) from 1869. Her life and destiny, spanning the range from wealth and power through imprisonment and shame to rehabilitation and release, fascinated Zahrtmann for almost 50 years.

Sophie Amalie was behind Leonora Christine’s arrest and 22 years of imprisonment in Blåtårn. Zahrtmann hated her for that, and his sentiments are apperent with exceptional honesty in this depiction of her death throes.

Renewer of historical painting

As an artist, the splendour-loving Zahrtmann became the great renewer of historical painting. In addition to his personal interpretations of Leonora Christine’s life, he was particularly interested in scenes of classical mythology.

Over the years the colours became more intense and the interpretations more private, making them more bizarre in the eyes of his contemporaries. In his late figure compositions, he brought together "exceptional" human beings and obvious homoerotic fascinations in a high-tension exchange between life and work.

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Details

  • Title: The Death of Queen Sophie Amalie
  • Creator: Kristian Zahrtmann
  • Date Created: 1882
  • Værktekst: Omgivet af sølvtøj og pragtfulde silkestoffer udånder enkedronning Sophie Amalie (1628-1685). En grotesk skikkelse, hvis status og rigdom ikke kan befri hende fra en voldsom og smertefuld kvælningsdød. Leonora Christines erindringer Maleriet hører til de omkring 100 billeder, skitser og skulpturer, Zahrtmann udførte med udgangspunkt i Leonora Christines (1621-1698) erindringer Jammersminde (1869). Hendes liv og skæbne fra rigdom og magt over fængsling og fornedrelse til oprejsning og løsladelse optog Zahrtmann i næsten 50 år. Sophie Amalie stod bag Leonora Christines fængsling og 22 år i Blåtårn. Zahrtmann hadede hende for det, og det kommer til syne i hendes dødskamp med en enestående ærlighed. Fornyer af historiemaleriet Som maler blev Zahrtmann den store fornyer af historiemaleriet. Ved siden af Leonora Christines livshistorie beskæftigede han sig især med klassiske mytologiske motiver. Med årene blev farverne drevet i vejret og tolkningerne mere private og i samtidens øjne mere bizarre. I de sene figurbilleder mødes undtagelsesmennesket og den åbenlyse homo-erotiske fascination i en spændingsfyldt udveksling mellem liv og værk. Både som kunstner og lærer er Zahrtmann en af de mest betydningsfulde skikkelser i dansk kunst. En grænseoverskridende personlighed, som til stadighed udfordrede samtidens normer.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Gave fra anonym giver 1884
  • Provenance: Acquired 1884
  • Physical Dimensions: w86.5 x h92.5 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=1201
  • Dansk Titel: Dronning Sophie Amalies død
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • External Link: Statens Museum for Kunst
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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