Whitewashing the Old House

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L.A. Ring (Danish, 1854 - 1933)

Kalkemanden. Det gamle hus bliver pudset op, 1908,  Olie på lærred

Gamle Ane har slået vinduet op og kigger ud i det stærke sollys for at veksle nogle ord med Per Nilen. Han er med kalkekost og spand i færd med at gøre hendes hus forårsklart og kniber øjnene sammen mod det skarpe genskin fra den hvidpudsede mur.

Bygningen og dens omgivelser læner sig af ælde og slid i forskellige retninger og danner skrånende linjeforløb og skæve vinkler, der afbalanceres af Per Nilens figur.

Han har afbrudt sit arbejde under samtalen med Ane, og med sin næsten frontale placering, den ene hånd i siden og vægten ligeligt fordelt i træskoene på de toppede sten, står han som et solidt midtpunkt.

Et kig ind i hverdagen
Vinduet med den nyligt reparerede, kittede rude synes næsten at åbne ud af maleriets rum, og billedkanten skærer motivet så abrupt af, at kun et lille udsnit af Anes ansigt indrammes af vinduesfaget.

Den overraskende beskæring og den minutiøse, realistiske detaljering bidrager til fornemmelsen af et kig ind i en almindelig, oplevet hverdag og dens gøremål, som Ring selv kendte så indgående.

Efter at have renoveret den gamle skole i Baldersbrønde nær Hedehusene var han i 1902 flyttet dertil med sin familie. Gamle Ane boede lige overfor og hjalp til i huset hos Ring, og hun og Per Nilen kan genkendes i mange af hans malerier.


Whitewashing the Old House, 1908, Oil on canvas

The old woman Ane has opened her window and looks into the strong sunlight to exchange a few words with Per Nilen. Brandishing his brush and bucket of whitewash he is preparing her house for spring, his eyes squinting against the glare from the white wall.

The building and its surroundings lean in different directions, crooked with age and wear. They form slanting lines and angles offset by the figure of Per Nilen.

He has interrupted his work to speak to Ane, and he forms a solid centre in the composition with his almost frontal pose, one hand on his hip and his weight evenly distributed on his clogged feet.

A glimpse of everyday life
The window with the recently repaired windowpane almost seems to open out of the painting's own space, and the edge of the painting cuts off the scene so abruptly that only a small section of Ane's face is framed by the window.

The surprising cropping and the painstaking, realistic detailing contribute to the sense of looking at a piece of everyday life and its doings; activities Ring knew so well himself.

Having renovated the old school in Baldersbrønde near Hedehusene he moved there with his family in 1902. The old woman Ane lived just across the street and helped around the house at Ring's; she and Per Nilen appear in many of his paintings.

Details

Heavy Duty 280 gsm Museum Quality Art Print