Landscape with Waterfall
- Artist: Lars Hertervig
- Creation date: 1858
- Object type: Drawing
Lars Hertervig is regarded as one of Norway’s foremost romantic artists and is particularly well known for his melancholic, mysterious landscapes. In this drawing from one of his sketchbooks, we encounter an unspoilt, ethereal landscape ravaged by storm. We see a waterfall and a river overflowing its banks. A dominant, ominous sky testifies to the storm, while uprooted trees lie scattered in front us like wrecked ships, broken on the rocks at the water’s edge.
The picture’s division between heaven and earth looks oddly fluid: the horizon is hazy, and the dynamic, unruly clouds seem almost to pour forth into the landscape. This sense of heaven and earth intermingling is intensified by the clouds’ reflection on the water surface. The river’s translucency seems moreover strangely airy, and where the river rests before the waterfall it resembles a bright cloud. This accentuates the distinctive natural lighting that so typifies Hertervig’s art – white, shimmering, and enigmatic. In this drawing, he emphasizes the light by juxtaposing it with hues of brown and other dark colours, bringing to mind processes of decomposition and the transience of life.
The picture’s ambiguous style is also created by the many inexplicable, fantastical formations, proportions, and perspectives. In his idiosyncratic depiction of nature, Hertervig violated the laws of physics and logics so as to rather depict what he experienced in his mind.
Text: Nina Denney Ness
Born 1830 in Tysvær, Rogaland, death 1902 in Stavanger