Summer Night

  • Artist: Kitty Kielland
  • Creation date: 1886
  • Object type: Painting


A calm lake lies encircled by shadowy, forested hills. It is twilight, and the sun is on the verge of disappearing over the horizon. A faint reflection of light is evident on the water surface, along with the reflection of the clouds, hills, and mother-of-pearl-like shimmering of the sky. Lying at a distance in the murky light, a small boat can be discerned with a person rowing toward the horizon. In the foreground, close up to the viewer, are slender, green reeds; they are as motionless in the calm evening as the delicate water lilies scattered across the lake like stars in the sky.

The painting depicts the enchanted twilight that is so characteristic of Nordic woodlands on summer nights. The painting’s serene atmosphere suggests timelessness and permanence, evoking the mysterious, eternal laws of nature. The link to natural mysticism is heightened by how the darkness shrouds the lake’s surroundings, and by the reflections on the water surface that make heaven and earth seem interwoven.

It was a local lake (Dælivannet) at Fleskum in Bærum that inspired Kitty Kielland to create this painting. Along with several of her fellow artists, she spent the summer of 1886 at Fleskum Farm; the “Fleskum Summer” is often seen as inaugurating neo-romanticism in Norwegian art, and Kielland was a practitioner of this movement well into the 1890s.

Text: Nina Denney Ness

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Kitty Kielland


Born 1843 in Stavanger, death 1914 in Kristiania, Norge

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Sommernatt (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
olje på lerret
  • Width: 135.5 cm
  • Height: 100.5 cm
  • Depth: 2.5 cm
Motif - type:
Acquired from the artist 1890
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections