Carl Larsson: Sweden Realism Master

In the 19th century, the world was introduced to what we celebrate today as modern art which came with the onset of realism. Now, pops the question, what is Realism?

Well, in short, it was the first non-conformist art movement which intended to revolutionise the social mores and traditions. Realism presented the raw scenarios from the everyday life and every realism artist showcased them in dark tones hiding harsh undertones of society.

Many artists shone the light on Realism art which truly embraced the modernist ideas and many Carl Larsson oil paintings were some of the best which can now be made yours here.

A Dive into Carl Larsson’s Life and Mind

Carl Larsson - Sweden Realism Master

Carl Larsson, a Swedish artist among others upturned Realism art with his simple yet complex representation of the world around him. Most of his paintings envelop the colloquial domestic life and the celebration of festivity where he made art out of his own family members.

He saw the skyrocketing of the Industrial Revolution and how it drove people towards some towards capitalism and some into the deep and dark pit of extreme penury. So through his art, he attempted to showcase the littlest joys of the quite countryside found in quarters but with exhilaration. His work intended to show the routine life and pristine rites which remain unspoiled by the cruel modernism that had eaten up the country. Some of his works are as follows:

1. Christmas Morning

Carl Larsson - Christmas Morning

Christmas morning is a sacred and holy holiday celebrated with much elation by all parts of the world. Carl has painted a typical panting of a typical household overflowing with children while the mother can be seen sitting amidst them. The red clothes of the children are symbolic of the Christmas cheer that runs in their spirit. Visibly, a small and congested room houses a party of five which suggests the monetary restraints that governed the countryside.

The children seem preoccupied with materials of their interest which could very well be Christmas gifts and their engagement evidently cheers up the face of the mother depicting the affection that bonds the family. Carl painted the nuances of family life with the ugly truth of menial existence and the beauty of relationship which came under the arena of Realism. The painting is distinct from any high art of pure modernist eras in a way that this covers a simple yet complex framework of society. Abundance of happiness even in scarcity is the idea which Carl propagates here.

2. Midvinterblot

Carl Larsson - Midvinterblot

Midvinterblot is a classic painting which translates to Midwinter’s Sacrifice in Swedish. This came to be known as Carl’s greatest work of Realist art. This mural came from the inspiration of an Icelandic writer, Snorri Sturluson.

It depicts a scene which finds no mention in Swedish history- the sacrifice of the mythical King Domalde! It shows a sacrificial scene in midwinter where the king is presented on a sled, unclothed with the priest concealing the knife. The background of the time was given by Snorri that the land was large crop failures and a pagan sacrifice was demanded to relieve the people of the suffering. This created a huge controversy around this painting regardless of its grandiose and historical beauty.

Carl was unflinchingly determined to keep the painting unchanged even after objections because he was a realist who wanted his art to promote the same. Realism showed the world the “ugly truths” which no one wanted to come face-to-face. The king is seen to be sacrificing for the good of his people which was seen as the ‘dharma’ or duty of kings.

3. Breakfast under the Big Berch

Carl Larsson - Breakfast under the Big Berch

This is another masterpiece by the Swedish artist who continued to walk on the path of Realism art. This painting throws a happy image of the authentic Swedish life of his family. A plethora of vibrant colours gleam in the eyes of the onlookers which attempt to make an impression of elation which is a constant vibe here. The quintessential family with a dog is shown having breakfast merrily in the lap of nature.

He wanted to bring these margins of society into the mainstream and romanticise the whole idea around it. Nature was worshipped around the 1940s in the Swedish tradition which evidently is an aspect here. Nature was a source for the people which became one with their well-being. Recurrence of the idea of being around nature which include the Romantic ideas can be seen in the context of being away from the hustle bustle that industrialisation brought with it. The simple picturesque pleasures of life are being emphasised on here which include familial warmth and the vivaciousness it brings. The realist ideas can once again be seen getting invoked here.

Carl Larsson was born in penury but died in utter glory where most of his paintings are seen standing out in the Museums in Sweden. He became the face of Realism with his paintings which upheld the movement in its entirety. The supposed minorities of the society were glorified in an idealistic fashion in his simple yet powerful paintings.

This movement stood for the battering apart of the traditional constraints of mainstream beauty in art and Carl, the realism artist did just that and expanded the preconceived conceptions of art, marking the onset of Modern Art.

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