Stetind in Fog
- Artist: Peder Balke
- Creation date: 1864
- Object type: Painting
The dramatic, precipitous, and inaccessible mountain formations along the Northern Norwegian coast impressed Peder Balke during his first lengthy journey to the northern parts of Norway in 1832. In The Mountain Stetind in Fog, the spiky mountain top seems to resemble a spire, towering in all its glory above the waves washing ashore. Balke has placed the mountain at the centre of the composition, with a relatively low-lying horizontal line and a grey belt of fog dominating the middle ground.
People also figure in the composition: two boats are out braving the winds, while a small group of people stand on a crag and gaze out toward the sea. The figures provide us with a sort of yardstick for humanity’s relation with the forces of nature, the very creed of romanticism. The elongated format, lack of detail, and Balke’s characteristic technique and palette underscore the composition’s dramatic perspective.
Balke revisited the motif of Stetind in several other paintings over the decades, and the National Museum also possesses two smaller versions. The Stetind motif is akin to the dramatic landscapes featured in some of the twenty-six sketches Balke sold to the Scandophile French king Louis Philippe, today in the collections of the Louvre.
In addition to being a productive artist, Balke was also highly committed to social causes. One manifestation of this commitment was the so-called Balkeby (Balke Town), a residential area for workers that he built on his estate in Christiania.
Born 1804 in Helgøya, Nes i Hedmark, death 1887 in Kristiania, Oslo