Christen Købke, The North Gate of the Citadel

 

 

Købke seems unwittingly to have captured that quality which the Danes like to emphasise about the fatherland – informal relations between high and low, and in this instance the drowsy atmosphere at the fortifications which were supposed to protect Copenhagen against enemies from outside.

Technically, Købke battled with this painting, yet it bears the happy imprint of the “lighter moments” to which he alludes in a letter to his sister. As a pupil of Eckersberg he has complete control of the perspective of the painting, and it is evident what an exciting colourist Købke was.