About this artwork

Købke was only nineteen when he painted this vivid portrait of his mother. The attention to detail, especially the subtle colouring of her skin and the fine character of her lace cap, demonstrate his remarkable skills in translating his observations into paint. The plain background focuses attention on the head and also complements the careful composition. Cecilia Margaret Petersen married her cousin Peter Brandt Købke, whom she had known since her own childhood. They had eleven children and Christen was the fifth.

Christen Købke

Christen Købke

Købke's small precise paintings including, portraits and landscapes, are among the most distinguished created during Denmarks so-called Golden Age. He enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and then studied with the established artist C.W.Eckersberg. Købke's father owned a bakery in the Kastel in Copenhagen, a castle serving as a prison. The family lived within the castle compound for seventeen years and it inspired many of Købke's paintings. He concentrated on more rural themes once the family moved further out of Copenhagen in the later 1830s. Købke also travelled to Germany and Italy, extended his range of subjects.