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Werner Holmberg: Forest View in Finland, 1859

 

After the success of Forest in Rainy Weather, Werner Holmberg had plans for an even larger painting, but he washed over the preliminary composition when his former teacher, Hans Gude, criticised it strongly. Regardless of its title, Forest View in Finland is based partly on sketches made in Norway.

An old dilapidated mill can be glimpsed in the background, symbolising the relentless, slow passage of time. The fleeting nature of time is represented by the wood grouse in flight on the right, its shadow caught on a rock face. The lighting is also constructed on dramatic opposites. On the right, the rocky outcrop rises up in gloom, while the view on the left opens up into a sunny and bright space.

One interesting thing about the painting is that it remains partly unfinished. The rock surfaces lack the final touch and reveal Holmberg’s lively, sketch-like brushwork for building different types of texture.