Peder Mønsted (Danish, 1859–1941)
Heather-covered Hills by the Lakes near Silkeborg, 1907
Oil on canvas, 48 x 79 in.
Signed and dated lower left: P. Monsted 1907
Mønsted was best known for landscapes of his home country, and Heather-Covered Hills by the Lakes near Silkeborg is one such scene of the artist’s native Denmark. This painting demonstrates the artist’s skill in capturing the light, air, and movement of the clouds in his typical photo-realistic manner, which has often been described as “virtuoso naturalism.” In the foreground, the bright sunlight illuminating the lush foliage is juxtaposed with the dark storm clouds that cast a shadow over the distant hills of the background. The bright light of the foreground serves to highlight the abundant, purple heather that Mønsted celebrates in this image. Silkeborg, after all, is located on the banks of the River Guden—Denmark’s longest waterway, renowned for the abundant flora and fauna on its banks. In this canvas, Mønsted pays loving attention to his native topography, a fact emphasized by the monumental size of the canvas. And his skill as a landscape artist is also evident in scenes painted during his foreign travels.