It all must be so beautiful in old Sweden now – Midsummer time – one almost chokes up thinking about the long, light nights; the still clear bays where birch promontories are reflected, where cuckoos call and the thrushes sing wistfully in the woods in the twilight
Bergh, letter to Pauli, 1887
Sven Richard Bergh’s (1858-1919) letter to his friend, the artist Georg Pauli, written while he was in Paris, speaks of his connection to, and romantic concept of, his Swedish homeland. A connection that arguably inspired his ideas that art is rooted in nature and should serve to express the life and the culture in which it was created.
In a Nordic Summer’s Evening we see that the influences of Naturalism, Impressionism, and en plein air painting that Bergh had been exposed to while in Paris have evolved towards an evocation of a Swedish national landscape, redolent with emotion, lit with the blue tones of a Nordic light. For Bergh, this served his idea that the artist represented, “the spiritual unity we all cultivate”, and should contribute to the facilitation of the attainment of an ideal of society by creating art that was both personal and universal.
Research from the Defence Studies Department, King's College London
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