Morning in Ny-Hellesund
- Artist: Amaldus Nielsen
- Creation date: 1885
- Object type: Painting
A new day has dawned along the coast. A low-lying sun shines its first golden rays onto the smoothly polished holms in a narrow sound and onto a cluster of wooden houses sheltered from the ocean. A man is rowing inward into the calm, unruffled waters of the sound, aiming for a buoy marking the position of a seine net – it seems the man is on his way to haul in the day’s catch. To the left, the sternpost and mast of a larger sailing vessel can be seen. The artist has been meticulous in painting all the details, not least the seaweed along the foreshore. The plastic sculpting of the holms, the reflections on the water, the details of the sailing vessel, and the title of the painting underscore the realistic and authentic nature of the picture.
1881 was the first year Amaldus Nielsen visited Ny-Hellesund, a safe harbour near the open sea where boats could seek shelter if a storm brewed up. Nielsen rose up early one morning and made a study of the sound bathed in the morning light. The study served as the basis for this picture, which Nielsen painted in his studio a few years later. Over the years he created other versions of this popular painting, all of which testify to the artist’s aptitude for precisely observing nature and capturing the lighting and atmosphere. Nielsen’s artistic philosophy may be inferred from a statement he made in conversation with the poet Vilhelm Krag: “Do you really think I would paint a scene I am fond of in a slapdash manner? Nature has a face, just as people do, and it is these faces that I paint.”
Amaldus Nielsen is a transitional figure between national romanticism and naturalism and was one of the first open-air painters in Norway. He is especially well known for his coastal landscapes and has often been hailed as the painter par excellence of Southern Norway.