Seeing the History of the Earth in the Cliffs at Møn: The Interaction between Landscape Painting and Geology in Denmark in the First Half of the 19th Century

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During the first part of the nineteenth century, geologists developed a history of the earth so different from that accepted in previous centuries that it encouraged a rethinking of the relationship between man and nature. In this article I will argue that painters followed these changes closely and that some of them let the narratives and images of geology inform the way they depicted nature. In arguing my point, I will focus on images and descriptions of the chalk cliffs on the Danish island of Møn by both geologists and painters. I will follow the scientific advances in geology by referring to the texts and images of Søren Abildgaard, Henrich Steffens, Johan Georg Forchhammer, and Christopher Puggaard and discuss how their changing theories correspond with paintings of the cliffs by four artists, Christopher Wilhelm Eckersberg, Frederik Sødring, Louis Gurlitt, and Peter Christian Skovgaard.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRomantik: Journal for the Study of Romanticisms
Issue numberIssue 02
Pages (from-to)77-101
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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