Sunday, 28 February 2016


“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” -  Oscar Wilde

Knud Andreassen Baade (28 March 1808 - 24 November 1879) was a Norwegian painter, mostly of portraits and landscapes. He was particularly known for his moonlight paintings which are characterised by strong and dramatic contrasts between light and shadow.

Baade was born in Skjold, a former municipality now in Vindafjord in Rogaland county, Norway. While still a boy he moved to Bergen with his family. He began his artistic education at the age of fifteen, under the Danish-Swedish painter, Carl Peter Lehmann (1794-1876). In 1827 he went to Copenhagen, where he studied at the Academy for about three years, until financial difficulties forced him to move to Christiania (now Oslo) and take up portrait-painting.

When his father became a magistrate in Sogn, he followed his family to the parish of Solvorn in Luster. The mountains, fjords and rocky bays offered ample subjects for his work. He also travelled northward to Trondheim and as far north as Bodø in search of material for his pictures. In 1836 he was persuaded by the well-known landscape painter, Dahl, to go to Dresden, where he studied for three years. There that he met Caspar David Friedrich and was strongly influenced by him.

He returned to Norway in 1839 due of a disease in his eyes. In 1846 he moved to Munich, where he soon earned a reputation as a landscape painter, producing views of his native country and the scenes around its coasts, mostly depicted with moonlight effects. Though but an invalid, he worked at Munich continually until his death there in 1879.

Baade was painter to the Court of Sweden, and a member of the Academy of Arts at Stockholm. He painted some fine portraits, especially in younger years, including portraits of his parents (1836). In addition to several trips to Sogn and Hardanger, Baade travelled widely in Germany. He also painted landscape scenes from Bavaria, Saxony, Tyrol and Switzerland. He is represented in the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design with 52 paintings.

The painting above is “Coastal Landscape in Moonlight”, painted in 1852. The work is typical of Baade’s oeuvre and shows his affinity with Friedrich’s canvases. The darkness of night and effects of moonlight on both sea and land have been rendered painstakingly and would appeal to the Romantic ideals of Baade’s time.

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