Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Carl Heinrich Bloch (Denmark, 1834-90)

Figure 1.--This work, 'Suffer the Children', was painted by Danish artist Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-90). It is part of a colletion of 23 paintings for the Chapel at Frederiksborg Palace, the Danish royalm palace (1865-1879). Here the clothing worn by the children comes from the painter's immagination. In the Palestine of 1st century AD the children wore tunics like adults. It is likely that younger children spent the hot summertime without their tunics or other clothing. Actually we think the artist was trying to be histirically accurate, but painging the children withoit clothes wouls have been see as inappropriate for the royal palace.

Carl Heinrich Bloch was born in Copenhagen (1834). He studied with Wilhelm Marstrand at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi). Bloch's parents wanted him to pursue a respectable middle-class profession, in particular to become an officer in the Danish Navy. Carl was, however, not interested in the military. His passion ws art and wanted to be an artist. He like many aspiring European artists went to Italy to study the great masters. He traveled through the Netherlands as was able to see many Rembrandts. This became a major influence on him. Once in Italy he met his wife, Alma Trepka. They married in Rome (1868). Bloch's earky works featured everyday life genre scenes, both Danish and Italian. Many had rural settings. Bloch lived in Italy (1859-66). Gradually his focus began to change. His first great success was the exhibition of his 'Prometheus Unbound' in Copenhagen (1865). This began a dramatic shift to religious themes. He did works decorating the ceremonial hall at the University of Copenhagen. He is perhaps best known for 23 paintings for the Chapel at Frederiksborg Palace (1867-79). It took some time to complete the commission. These were scenes from the life of Christ. They were a great success and widely used by Christian authors to illustrate books. As such Bloch had a huge impact on how Americans and Europeans, especially Protestants, visyalized Jesus.


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Created: 8:23 PM 7/9/2013
Last updated: 8:23 PM 7/9/2013