Saturday, July 20, 2013

Anker, Albert Samuel

Old age
oil on canvas
82 x 63 cm
Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland

"One has to shape an ideal in one's imagination, and then one has to make that ideal accessible to the people." (Anker)

Albert Samuel Anker (1831 - 1910) was a Swiss painter who has been called the "national painter" of Switzerland because of his enduringly popular depictions of 19th-century Swiss ordinary village life. His meticulous paintings of Swiss rural life endeared him to the public and during his heydays, he was considered as the most popular artist.

Anker's works captured the daily and social life of the rustics in the picturesque villages of Switzerland. His paintings depict his fellow citizens in an unpretentious and plain manner, without idealizing country life, but also without the critical examination of social conditions. He portrayed the social life of villagers as plain and unpretentious. Anker depicted men and women without any judgment or idealizing their social condition. Though he had a Christian world-view, he did not, in any way, impose his ideology on his paintings.

Anker was quick to reach his artistic objectives and never strayed from his chosen path. His works, though, exude a sense of conciliation and understanding as well as a calm trust in Swiss democracy; they are executed with great skill, providing brilliance to everyday scenes through subtle choices in coloring and lighting.

Anker had six children, two of whom died very early in life. he depicted his surviving children in some of his paintings. Anker died in 1910 at the age of 79 at his house in Anet, Switzerland. His studio in Ins has been preserved as a museum by the Albert Anker Foundation. Many Swiss postage stamps and other media have incorporated Anker's work.