FOCUS OF THE WEEK HCA at Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen

February 9, 2005, the exhibition "Here in Italy ... Hans Christian Andersen and the Danish Golden Age Painters" opened at Statens Museum for Kunst. The exhibition is sponsored by the Hans Christian Andersen Foundation, and is open to the public from February 12 to June 12, 2005.

By Tina Kristensen - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 10 February 2005

Director of the Museum, Allis Helleland, hosted the opening event, which started with a musical introduction to the universe of Hans Christian Andersen by musician and composer Palle Mikkelborg. Afterwards, the exhibition "Here in Italy ... Hans Christian Andersen and the Danish Golden Age Painters" was introduced by author and art historian Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsen, who has created the exhibition.

Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsen's exhibition follows Hans Christian Andersen's first journey to Italy in 1833-34 and portrays the Danish writer as a pupil of the Golden Age painters. This is done by combining Hans Christian Andersen's drawings from the journey and extracts from his letters and travelogues with selected Danish Golden Age painters, who - like Hans Christian Andersen himself - was very inspired by the Italian nature and culture. This allows paintings by Constantin Hansen, Wilhelm Marstrand and Jørgen Roed to appear in a new context with Andersen's universe, and older photographs are supplemented by new material made by photographer Janne Klerk. Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsen has written a book in connection with the exhibition, which is to be published in April by the Gyldendal publishing house.

Following Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsen's presentation of the exhibition, actress Lise Schrøder performed an excerpt from the Hans Christian Andersen-monologue "My Son the Poet", written by Dorrit Willumsen and directed by Jan Hertz. The monologue will be performed in its entirety at 12 am, every day except Monday 13 - 20 February 2005 at Statens Museum for Kunst.

The Secretary General of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, Lars Seeberg, was present at the opening event. He expressed his pleasure with Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsens exhibition, which will contribute to a new and wider understanding of Hans Christian Andersen's life and work. At the event, Secretary General Lars Seeberg appointed two Danish Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors: The internationally acclaimed violinist Nikolaj Znaider and theatre director and manager Peter Langdal. Secretary General Lars Seeberg motivated the appointments with reference to their commitment to the arts, their talent for storytelling and their artistic undertakings nationally and internationally.

Please find information below about the exhibition "Here in Italy ... Hans Christian Andersen and the Danish Golden Age Painters" and about the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors Nikolaj Znaider and Peter Langdal.

For further info,

Have PR & Kommunikation
Press Coordinator, Hans Christian Andersen 2005
Tel: + 45 33 25 21 07

Press coordinators:
Anette Juhl Rasmussen, E-mail:
Tina Kristensen, E-mail:

"Here in Italy ... Hans Christian Andersen and the Danish Golden Age Painters" Statens Museum for Kunst, 12 February - 12 June 2005
"Everything is a painting," was a comment made repeatedly by an enthusiastic Hans Christian Andersen in his letters home during his first trip to Italy. Celebrating the bicentenary of Andersen's birth, the major spring exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst takes audiences on a journey to the Italy that greeted the popular writer in 1833-34. Hans Christian Andersen's meeting with the cradle of culture, as well as his encounters with Danish Golden Age artists in Italy, became a crucial turning point in his life and work. The art historian and writer Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsen has created an exhibition that presents a portrait of Hans Christian Andersen as a pupil of the Danish Golden Age artists, as it were. "What you want with Italy is of no consequence; what matters is what Italy wants with you. It gave us a Danish Golden Age of art and, very importantly, Hans Christian Andersen", says the exhibition curator.

In the poet's footsteps
The exhibition follows Hans Christian Andersen's journey through Italy. The first stop is Florence, where the poet was overwhelmed, almost subjugated, by the city's impressive wealth of cultural treasures. The journey continues to Rome with special focus on the places frequented by Hans Christian Andersen and the other Danish artists, e.g. the Coliseum, Forum Romanum and Piazza Barberini. Further south, in the direction of Naples, the poet was once again captivated by his encounter with the sublime beauty of the South as represented by e.g. Pompeii and Capri. The exhibition makes a final - and crucial - stop in Venice.

Through the eyes of an artist
"There I came to know Nature and Art." Hans Christian Andersen used these words to describe his journey to Italy after his return. In Italy he found calm and inspiration, not least among the Danish artists who, unlike the literary circles in Copenhagen, were perfectly capable of accepting the sensitive and self-obsessed poet, making him feel welcome. The exhibition shows how Hans Christian Andersen's time in Italy led him to gradually acquire a way of perceiving the world similar to the artist's approach to their subject matter. Not only did he seek out the same themes, he also changed his writing process to echo how the painters collected materials, how they sketched their scenes and how they focused on specific moments, on what they sensed and perceived. Andersen gathered his experiences and observations in his first novel, The Improvisatore from 1835, which became his literary breakthrough and so changed everything for the aspiring writer.      

Impressions upon impressions
Hans Edvard Nørregård-Nielsen has addressed an overwhelming wealth of materials in this project. Creating a collage, the exhibition takes the young Hans Christian Andersen's drawings from his journey, excerpts from his works, letters, and travel journals and interweaves them with works by the Golden Age painters of the time and the generations that preceded and succeeded them. Paintings by artists such as Constantin Hansen, Wilhelm Marstrand and Jørgen Roed appear in new, relevant contexts in juxtapositions with Andersen's universe, also illustrating key places and episodes from the poet's Grand Tour. Older photographs supplemented by new images by the photographer Janne Klerk accentuate a range of connections that span almost 200 years, yet still capture something eternal and unchanging about the Italian localities. A film by Jacob Jørgensen, Jeg så det land, which traces Hans Christian Andersen's trail through Italy, will also be screened in connection with the exhibition.

Information about the Hans Christian Andersen-ambassadors Nikolaj Znaider and Peter Langdal

Nikolaj Znaider:
Internationally acclaimed violinist. He is a very recognised artist who has been highly awarded for his quality of tone, virtuosity and his rich and nuanced musical expression. In 1997 he received the most respected prize of the violin world: The First Prize in the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. Nikolaj Znaider plays around 100 concerts a year with several recognised conductors and orchestras all over the world.

Peter Langdal:
One of the most important Danish theatre directors. He has played a vital part in the development of the theatre in Denmark because of his innovative thinking and practice. He has worked with modern drama and remaking of classics as well as operas and musicals. As theatre manager of the Betty Nansen Theatre he has initiated an intercultural and educational project called Players Project and the project The Others' thoughts in order to use the theatre to build a bridge between people, opinions, prejudices, cultures and experiences.