Johan Didrik Frisch (Charlottedal, Slagelse 1835 - Florence 1867)
Portrait of a boy
monogrammed and dated lower left: JF 1861
pen and black ink and watercolour over grey pencil
215 x 135 mm
Private collection, Denmark
This drawing of a young boy reveals the full influence of Johan Didrik Frisch’s Danish academic training. Facial features are carefully detailed with fine knit cross-hatching, whilst the boy’s clothing is rendered in complimentary shades of magenta, blue, and purple watercolour. The background is formed with simple cross-hatchings in pencil under grey watercolour. The image is reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich’s self-portrait of 1800, which was gifted in the same year to J.L. Lund. Lund was a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art where Frisch was a student, and it is possible that Frisch had the opportunity to view the drawing prior to the Lund’s retirement from teaching in 1861. Frisch’s choice of a young boy as his subject, conforms to a popular trait in Golden Age painting, since the depiction of childhood was a prevalent theme amongst Danish artists who yearned for a more simple, natural state in the face of growing industrialisation.
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