A view of the crossing point of two avenues in the grounds of the Villa Borghese, with one of the many statues the park contains. Although the sunlight filters through the trees and lies in bright swathes across earth and gravel, this hot Italian afternoon is seen through the lens of Hansen’s melancholy northern eye, tranquil, unpeopled and otherworldly: a stage from which the actors have departed. Like his landscapes set in the open countryside of Denmark, this urban park is given immense perspectival recession, marked by the foreground bollard and the shadows receding into the distance; and Hansen achieves great technical success in the counterpoint of these shadows with the bright sunlight.
Sigvard Marius Hansen (1859-1938) was born in Copenhagen to Anton Hansen, a carpenter. He studied porcelain painting at the Aluminia School of Art and then attended the Royal Academy of Art (1876-83), both in Copenhagen. He travelled through much of northern Europe, visiting England in 1878, when he studied ceramic and glass painting, and again from 1889-90.
He won the Sodrings Prize in 1886, the Danish Royal Academy Medal in 1886, 1893 & 1902, and the Bielke Medal in 1895, and worked as a painter at the Aluminia Porcelain Company until 1882. His paintings were shown at the Charlottenborg Palace from 1882-1938; the Nordic Exhibition, Copenhagen, between1888 & 1933; the Royal Academy, London, 1889-90; the Nordic Art Exhibition, Lübeck, 1895; and various other exhibitions in Copenhagen and Hamburg. A memorial exhibition was devoted to him in Sollerod, in 1974.