Island Borgøya

  • Artist: Lars Hertervig
  • Creation date: 1867
  • Object type: Painting

On display: Room 047 The Collection Exhibition - Elves whispering


A dreamlike silence permeates this landscape painting from the artist’s birthplace, Borgøya in Tysvær in Rogaland. Rather than being a realistic depiction of nature, the painting is based on the core romantic idea of subjective interpretation – it is Lars Hertervig’s personal experience of the landscape that is presented to us. Because Hertervig accentuates its steep incline, the largest mountain seems strangely elevated in relation to the surrounding formations and takes on a wondrously majestic appearance. Partially shrouded in enigmatic fog, the mountain seems to glide forth from a hazy sky, gently resting like the adjacent boats upon the serene water.

The surrounding landscape is instilled with a distinct, mysterious light. In the distance the light has a mother-of-pearl-like sheen, while in the foreground it is more intense. The rocks near us are depicted in a detailed, matter-offact way and seem therefore more immediately perceptible. This suggests a division between our intimate, physical reality and a remote, non-physical dimension, with the large mountain dominating the composition’s centre as an awe-inspiring gateway from one reality to another. In such a reading, the small, barely visible boats symbolize the destiny of humankind and the journey from life to death.

The mood in the painting is one of silence and tranquillity. This is underscored by the composition’s stabilizing centring on the mountain, which helps convey a sense of permanence and immutability.

Text: Nina Denney Ness

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


Lars Hertervig

Visual artist, Painter

Born 1830 in Tysvær, Rogaland, death 1902 in Stavanger

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Borgøya (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Width: 69.5 cm
  • Height: 61.7 cm
  • Depth: 2.2 cm
Kjøpt 1973
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Lathion, Jacques/Børre Høstland