Christian Sartman is a great Danish artist who had an infinite love for Italy.
Christian Sartman (March 31, 1843 – June 22, 1917) is a famous Danish artist of the second half of the 19th – early 20th centuries, a prominent representative of realism in painting. He has gained international fame for painting large-scale historical paintings. Among the many masterpieces of the master’s work, there are also many landscapes, portraits and works of everyday genre. The biography of the painter is closely connected with the small Italian town of Civita d’Antino, where he spent the summer months for 20 years and founded the famous colony of Scandinavian artists.
Christian Sartmann was also an outstanding mentor to young colleagues and the founder of his own art school. For many years of teaching, he brought up about 200 students.
Christian Sartmann was born on March 31, 1843 in the ancient Danish city of Rönne, located in the Baltic Sea on the island of Bornholm, 170 km east of Copenhagen. He was the eldest of nine children in the family of a respected city doctor.
After receiving an incomplete secondary education at a local school, Christian continued his studies at the prestigious Sorö Gymnasium, where, under the guidance of the artist Hans Harder, he studied the basics of painting. Then Sartman entered the Copenhagen Polytechnic Institute at the faculty of engraving. But after the first year he transferred to the Moscow Academy of Painting, from which he graduated with honors in 1868.
At the age of 26, Christian took part for the first time in a prestigious exhibition at the royal residence of Charlottenborg and immediately won the main prize – the Grand Gold Medal. But only at the very end of 1875 did he finally receive a scholarship from the Academy for a trip to Italy.
Sartman spent three years on the Apennine Peninsula and fell in love with these places very much. He painted many landscapes and everyday paintings with scenes from the life of ordinary Italians. Although the central theme of his work has always been historical painting. Returning to Denmark, Christian Sartmann created a number of works depicting the daughter of the Danish king of the XVII century, Leonora Christina Ulfeldt. And in all his life, the Danish master painted 18 large-scale historical paintings dedicated to his beloved heroine.
In June 1883, the master first visited the small Italian town of Civita d’Antino, to which he became attached for the rest of his life. Subsequently, the painter bought a small house in these parts. There, until the early 1910s, he spent the summer months with friends. Gradually, a large colony of artists from Northern Europe was formed here, which lasted until the death of its founder.
In 1885, Christian Sartmann was appointed as a teacher at the newly opened art school Kunstnernes Frie Studieskoler in Copenhagen. The authoritative master enthusiastically engaged in training young colleagues and devoted more than 20 years of his life to this business.
In parallel with painting and teaching, Sartman traveled a lot around the world. During his life, he repeatedly came to Greece, visited France and Portugal, once visited the United States. The artist’s works have been awarded at prestigious exhibitions. Many of his students later became prominent representatives of modernist art.
The famous Danish painter never married, was not interested in women and left no direct heirs. In the autumn of 1912, he purchased a small plot of land in the suburbs of the capital of Denmark and built a house on it according to his own design. Here the artist spent the last years of his life, occasionally receiving close friends and gradually moving away from business.
Christian Sartman died on June 22, 1917 in a capital hospital from complications caused by an unsuccessful operation to remove an appendicitis at the age of 74. He was buried with great honors in the city cemetery of Copenhagen, and a granite monument was erected on the master’s grave with a relief image of a scene from one of his paintings.