Influencing Me – Vilhelm Hammershøi
For today’s post, I went through a lot of different things before deciding what to show. I haven’t had a chance to find any WordPress photographers, and do have a successful photographer to show you next week, but it left me kind of high and dry this week. I thought I could show you some paintings from the Renaissance Period, but it was looking more like a history lesson, I felt the same about looking at the history of Photography. Then I remembered an artist that I have loved for quite some time, Vilhelm Hammershøi.
I was first introduced to his work by our technician at the VCA. He brought in a book for me to look at on the artist. Hammershøi was a Danish artist, and lived between 1864 and 1916 in Copenhagen. He is most famous for interior paintings, many, I believe, painted in his home.
There is a quietness to them, and they seem so still. It was a revelation, I think, for me at the time, because I felt my own work was very still and quiet, I worried that people would think my work was very boring. It gave me hope seeing Hammershøi’s work, that perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing.
Then there is the lone figure that sits or stands in many of his images. Her back is nearly always turned to you. I don’t know why she is always facing away, I don’t know that it matters, but it does add something really interesting to the images. The woman was his wife Ida, and I thought perhaps she didn’t want her face painted.
Then I found this image of her, so I don’t really know why. It is a great idea and I like how you don’t see her face in many of the images, it does add to the mysterious of the images.
I also think that we often spend too much time on the face, and with these images, you are forced to look elsewhere as well, that the interior is just as important as the model in them, perhaps more so.
As I was looking for his work on the internet it was wonderful for me to discover that he did do other sorts of images and there are many landscape paintings and other paintings of streets and buildings, of both where he lived and where he traveled.
One of the things that I love about his work is how he loved to paint what he saw in front of him, or around him, his home. I have spoken about other artists who have done the same, the other person who comes to mind is Margaret Olley, though Hammershøi paints of an uncluttered world, and a simple muted world in comparison. I always think I should do the same in my own home, but my home is not suited. I need to do some painting, I painted my walls some very bright colours a few years ago, and I need to change them.
It seems appropriate to be doing a post on Hammershøi right now as I prepare for a week where I will be mainly stuck indoors trying to avoid the heat. I have some more images for you to see and will put them in a gallery, after it I will add some links so if you would like to learn more about him you can.
Michael Palin has a small video that you can look at it if you would like to see Hammershøi’s Copenhagen, Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershoi.