Elias Martin

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Elias Martin
Elias Martin-1849.jpg
Engraving by Henrik Wallgren
Born 8 March 1739
Died 25 January 1818
Nationality Swedish
Known for History painting
landscape

Elias Martin (8 March 1739 – 25 January 1818) was a Swedish genre, history, and landscape painter from Stockholm.[1] He is known for his watercolour paintings of Stockholm, and his landscape oil paintings that feature romantic lighting effects. Nationalencyklopedin describes him as Sweden's "first great landscape painter".[2]

Early life[edit]

A painting by Martin of the galley docks of Sveaborg fortress during their construction

Martin's father was a carpenter and wanted his son to work in carpentry. Martin, however, was more interested in art, and decided to become an apprentice of the painter F.C. Schultz. During his time with Schultz, he was hired by the naval architect Fredrik Henrik af Chapman to design ship ornaments. This job led to an acquaintanceship with Augustin Ehrensvärd, a lieutenant colonel in the artillery and a painter, who brought Martin to the sea fortress of Sveaborg and encouraged him to pursue his painting.[1]

Martin stayed at Sveaborg for two years and painted several paintings of the fortress and its surroundings under the supervision of Ehrensvärd. He also gave drawing lessons to the garrison officers (Svenska: garnisonsofficerarna) and Ehrensvärd's son, Carl August Ehrensvärd.[1]

Travels and career[edit]

"The steps on Skeppsbro" etching by Elias Martin of a scene in Stockholm. It is popularly supposed that the woman boarding the boat is Ulla Winblad, the semi-mythical figure of muse and prostitute in many of Carl Michael Bellman's Epistles of Fredman.

In May 1766, Martin traveled to Le Havre and Paris in France where he mostly worked on his own. He tried to copy the style of François Boucher, but quickly realized that it did not suit him. Martin was not a follower of French classicism, and therefore moved to London in 1770. He may have briefly visited Rome before his move.[1]

A watercolour painting from 1787 depicting the island of Långholm in Stockholm

In England, Martin spent most of his time on landscape painting, receiving inspiration from Claude Lorrain and the English landscape school. He painted several paintings in this style, but also experimented with portraits, genre paintings, and history paintings. Among Martin's most famous works from this time are the paintings he made in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. These include Britomartis befriande Amoret ur trollqvinnans våld (English: Britomart frees Amor from the witch's possession; based on Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene) and Arkebiskop Langton, som af konungen erhåller en handling.[1]

An 1808 painting by Martin of Drottninggatan, a major thoroughfare in Stockholm

Martin gained a good reputation in England for his paintings, and he became a member of the Royal Academy.[1] In 1781 he earned a membership at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, and a year later he traveled to Sweden. He went ashore in Helsingborg and passed through Lund, Karlskrona, and Kalmar before arriving in Stockholm. On his journey he saw many views that he later depicted in watercolour and oil paintings.[1] Martin stayed in the capital of Sweden for several years, diligently working on paintings, drawings, and engravings that people ordered. Some of his foremost paintings from this period include Midsommarfest, Hertigens af Småland döpelseakt i slottskapellet (1782), Gustaf III:s och hertig Fredrik Adolfs besök i Målare- och bildhuggare-akademien, Uppsala (1784; given to Pope Pius VI), Gripsholm (1784), Engelska parken vid Drottningholm (1785), Stockholm från Mosebacke (1786–87).[1]

In 1788 Martin once again traveled to England, where he first stayed in London and then in Bath. In the summer of 1791 he was recalled to Sweden by King Gustav III. He remained there until his death.[1] During his final years in Stockholm Martin produced several engravings and paintings, primarily depicting landscapes, in watercolour and oils. He also became an art teacher.[1]

Martin died in Stockholm on 25 January 1818.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Elias Martin". Nordisk familjebok. 1886. pp. 1009–1011. 
  2. ^ "Elias Martin". Nationalencyklopedin. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 

Sources[edit]