Noviciate of the franciscans, 1886
Oil on paper laid down on cardboard., H. 0.28 m; W. 0.27 m
Situated and dated lower right: Noviciata / 1866.
Provenance: Private collection.
Thorald Læssøe began as a pupil of animal painter Christopher Holm. In 1834, he was admitted to the Royal Academy, which he attended somewhat sporadically until 1839. Essentially self-taught, he took classes with Christen Købke for some time, and some of his works were strongly influenced by his teacher. He soon became friends with Lundbye, Jerichau and Frølich. In 1842, he traveled across Europe, settling down in Italy from 1844 to 1857, and quickly built a reputation as a landscape painter. He traveled to Greece, where he studied and brought back drawings of famous sites, plein air sketches full of meticulous detail. He journeyed a second time to Italy from 1866 to 1868, where he met the famous French landscape artist, Achille Bénouville, in Rome. Between 1836 and 1876, he regularly took part in the Academy exhibitions at Charlottenborg. While he had once exhibited his landscapes of the North, as well as the area west of the island of Sealand, his work starting in 1846 featured exclusively southern motifs: Rome and its surroundings, and Greece.
His favourite themes are the landscapes and architecture of Rome, which he bathes in light. This painting probably depicts the novitiate of the Franciscan monastery on the banks of Lake Garda, a subject studied from another perspective by Echard Charles at the end of the 18th century.