CEEH Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica

Visionary Romantics. Balke, Lucas, Hertervig


Knut Ljøgodt and Carlos Sánchez Díez, (eds.), with other essays by Inger M. L. Gudmundson, Begoña Torres Gónzalez y Hanne Beate Ueland


244 pages; 134 colour illustrations; hardcover; 19 x 24,5 cm


English; jointly published with Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Stavanger Art Museum, Nordic Institute of Art and AECID; 2023





This exhibition catalogue brings together works by three Romantic artists: the Norwegians Peder Balke (1804–1887) and Lars Hertervig (1830–1902), and the Spaniard Eugenio Lucas  Velázquez (1817–1870). Drawing a parallel between their respective landscapes, they show how these artists captured their inner visions of nature through experimental techniques that to an extent foreshadowed the loose manner of Impressionism and other modern painting movements. We have no indication that they knew one another or had seen each other’s works. However, they all sprang from a Romantic tradition and they all focused – at least for periods – on landscape painting. Generally speaking, their works should not be seen as the naturalist depiction of a particular topography – even though they could be inspired by certain geographical areas – but rather as a landscape of the mind. They were visionary artists.

The aim of this juxtaposition is to highlight the fact that, although they were not in contact with each other, Balke, Hertervig, and Lucas display a common sensibility that inserts them into a Europewide trend, in tune with other 19th-century landscapists such as Caspar David Friedrich, J. M. W. Turner, and Victor Hugo. The authors who have contributed to this catalogue – Norwegian and Spanish scholars – analyse the visionary Romantics from both a Spanish and a Norwegian perspective as a transnational phenomenon and place the artists featured in the show in their rightful historiographical context, making them easier to understand. They further explore how Balke, Hertervig, and Lucas would often apply experimental or unusual techniques to find an adequate form of expression. 

Knut Ljøgodt, director of the Nordic Institute of Art, received his doctorate in Art History from the University of Tromsø. He has been curator in the National Gallery of Norway, Oslo, director of Northern Norway Art Museum, Tromsø, and the founding director of Kunsthall  Svalbard, Spitzbergen. As a scholar on Nordic and European 19th- and 20th-century art, he has authored several publications, including Peder Balke: Sublime North (2020). He has also curated and co-curated a series of exhibitions, such as Peder Balke (London, 2014–15), Historier: tre generasjoner samiske kunstnere (Oslo, 2019), and Edward Burne-Jones: The Pre-Raphaelites and the North (Stockholm, 2019 and Bergen, 2020).

Carlos Sánchez Díez holds a postgraduate diploma of advanced studies (DEA) in Art History and is chief curator at the Museo Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid). Notable among his publications are those focusing on Spanish 19th-century drawings, with studies on Valentín Carderera (2004), Genaro Pérez Villaamil (2006), Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (2012), and Rosario Weiss (2015, 2018, 2019); he has also staged exhibitions on the last three. He has authored articles and monographs on the collections of the Museo Lázaro Galdiano (Arte y gastronomía, 2012; Encuentro de culturas, 2013; Caricaturas. Ilustradores de los siglos XIX y XX, 2013; Marcos, 2019) and has lectured at courses and conferences related to Spanish 19th-century drawing and art.