Heliogravure: 20 x 30
Battling the German fleet in 1864, the Danish sailors cheer as their foe burns in the distance. While most holler and cheer, others heave, load and steady the canons for another blow. The exuberant crew is gathered at a distance from the firing canons as they celebrate a short triumph of the devastating war.
The intense detail with which this piece was executed shows Mølsted’s masterful hand and extensive maritime knowledge. Notice the intricate netting above deck, the circuitry of ropes and pulleys, glistening copper and battle instruments, the illustrated anatomy of the straining sailors, and the dozens of portraits that constitutes the frigate’s large crew.
Artist: Christian Ferdinand Andreas Mølsted (1862-1930)
Positions & Appointments:
Taught and inspired by Dragørs ship makers and artists Peder N. Foss and Henrik Stromberg, Christian Mølsted was predominantly known as a seascape and marine painter. As a young artist, Mølsted was mainly inspired by his home town of Dragør, harbors, and local sea traffic. The opening of the National Museum of Art and History at the Fredericksborg castle was an awakening of sorts for him and many other artists at that time. It was the beginning of his venture into the realm of national marine history. He became a member of the National Association of Art and contributed to the castle’s collection with his now famous painting On board the Neils Juel at the Battle of Helgoland (1864). This was one of the many loved dramatic depictions of Danish historical events contributed to the castle.
Among many of the artist’s favorite subjects were the heroic battles of captains “Thundershield” and “Willemoes”. Historical accuracy, as well as detailed ship information, was provided for the paintings by Otto Dorge, a Dragør local expert. Mølsted saw many commissions from the state of Denmark. Among his numerous famous works is a marine painting used in the official 1922 Danish Christmas stamp.
Christian Mølsted used sketches and/or pastels on paper in preparation for works he would later execute with oils. His mastery of large paintings of grandeur is evident in his surviving works.
Christian Mølsted was universally loved and adored for his tremendous talent and ability to bring things to life with realist techniques and historical detail. Always motivated by perfection and the fact that he was often contributing to Denmark’s National Museum of Art and History, Mølsted created many influential and inspiring works of art not only for his country, but for his followers, and considered the responsibility a great honor.