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Laurits Andersen Ring

 

L.A. Ring’s (1854–1933) oeuvre displays an interaction between the realistic and the symbolic. He came from a modest background and was sensitive to contemporary social issues, winning an important standing in Denmark’s artistic community in the early 20th century.

Laurits Andersen was born in the village of Ring in South Zealand. In 1881 he took the name of his birthplace, and was thereafter known as L.A. Ring. Trained as a house painter, Ring studied successively at the Technical College in Copenhagen, and in Copenhagen at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Kunstnernes Studieskoler (Artists’ Study Schools) under Peder Severin Krøyer.

He worked in the tradition of the French realists (Jules Bastien-Lepage, Jean-François Raffaëlli, Jean-François Millet) and was deeply impressed both by the work of these artists and by the paintings of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, which he studied on journeys to Belgium, the Netherlands, Paris and Italy. Although he remained more faithful to Naturalism than his contemporaries he embraced the simplified, decorative and formal ideals of Symbolism, while not directly interested in the Symbolist movement per se.

He was acquainted with artists such as Ludvig Find and Vilhelm Hammershøi and was a member of Den Frie Udstilling (The Independent Exhibition) in 1902– 1904. Most of his paintings depict the village life and landscapes of South Zealand. Coming from humble origins, his depictions of common people show his social awareness and atheistic convictions. Yet, and despite their almost photographic realism, his landscapes have a highly spiritual quality.