When you spend your week in your own small corner of the world, traversing from home to work and back again, surrounded by traffic and busy city life – you need something to rebalance. For me, this magnificient mountain view has this effect.
It may not seem so on your computer screen and probably even less so on your smartphone, but the original, to be found in Thielska Museum in Stockholm, is huge. Standing in front of it, it occupies your entire field of vision. The mountains tower over you, the sunbeams seem to shine out of the painting and right onto you like real sunshine.
Looking at this painting, you can sense the huge impression the mountainous region of the Alps had on the painter J.F. Willumsen when he travelled to Switzerland from his flat, sandy homeland Denmark.
The lake depicted is Lake Geneva, whether the houses belong to Geneva itself is not clear. Whichever it is, the town is dwarfed by the mountains. All you can see is the rough outlines and silhouettes of buildings – no details, no traffic, no people.
Blocked by thick clouds and steep, shadowy slopes, the town is cut off from the pristine mountain tops. The untouched, monumental nature contrasts the tiny spot of civilisation at the bottom of the painting. Humanity is rendered almost insignificant.
Standing in front of this painting, I felt awed, overwhelmed. It made me see the bigger picture, become aware of the grandiosity of nature. Where everyday city life weighed down one end, Willumsen’s mountain view tipped the scale to the other side and rebalanced me, letting me again embrace life on this world as a whole.
Artwork: J.F. Willumsen, 1902, “Sol over sydens bjerge” (Sun over the Southern
Mountains), 207×207 cm, Thielska Galleriet, Stockholm.