- About Ateneum
The work depicts the port of Copenhagen, the home town of Empress Maria Feodorovna, the spouse of Alexander III. The Empress was born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, which is why she and her husband commissioned Edelfelt to paint this view in 1889.
In the foreground, two seamen stand on the bow of the Danish frigate Sjaelland. The rather bold composition is built upon the use of diagonals. In the background we see the Russian imperial yacht Derzhava and several moored steam and sailing ships. The colours are bright and intense, which may be on account of the fact that the Empress had rejected one of Edelfelt’s proposals for the picture as being too bland.
Dutifully, Edelfelt made several variations and sketches of the subject, as the ordinal number in the title of the painting suggests. One version was purchased for the Empress’s private collection at the Anichkov Palace, and the first sketch for the painting, which normally hangs in the Presidential Palace, is currently in the Serlachius Art Museum in Mänttä.