Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ernst Josephson

Woman Knitting in an Interior
year unknown
oil on canvas
33.02 x 40.64 cm
private collection

"I will become Sweden's Rembrandt or die." (Ernst Josephson)

Ernst Josephson (1851-1906) was a Swedish painter, draughtsman and poet came from a culturally distinguished Jewish family. His main paintings were done on portraits and paintings of folk life.

He did his art studies in Italy, France and the Netherlands. Frequent journeys in western and northern Europe allowed him to copy Old Master paintings. He copied especially works by Velazquez, Raphael, Titian and above all Rembrandt, whom he took as his principal model both as colourist and as a draughtsman.

His life was marred by illness. He contracted syphilis at a relatively young age, and in 1888 he became mentally ill, having religious hallucinations and believing that he was God and Christ. He was later taken to hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia, but continued working throughout his disease, often while in a trance-like state. He also wrote poetry.