Nilaus Fristrup, View of the Ruins of Pompei
Nilaus Fristrup (1836-1909)

View of the Ruins of Pompei, 1877

Oil on canvas, H. 0.4 m; W. 0.63 m

Signed lower left: Pompei 1877. / N. Fristrup.

Provenance: Private collection

Fristrup showed a talent quite early on for drawing and attended classes with Gustav Friedrich Hetsch (1788-1864), a Danish architect of German origin. From 1851 to 1853 he was an apprentice stuccadore and painter-decorator. From 1852 he also studied the art of painting at the Copenhagen academy where he remained a pupil until 1864. In 1868, Fristrup began to work for a pottery factory, Aluminia. In 1881 he was appointed a professor at the Copenhagen academy, a position he retained until his death. His painted mostly depictions of animals and landscapes.

From the rediscovery of Pompei in 1748, many generations of artists were confronted with the ruins of the ancient city of Campania, destroyed following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 a.d. The vision of the ruins of the city fascinated large numbers of travelling artists. Fristrup has shown Pompei from a high point of view, capturing the entire site without delaying on any specific ruins. Other paintings of Italian sites by him, especially of the Amalfi coast seem to confirm that he travelled to southern Italy.