Anton Melbye

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Anton Mebye: Sailing ship off Gibraltar (1851)

Daniel Hermann Anton Melbye (13 February 1818 – 10 January 1875) was a Danish painter. He was born in Copenhagen, 13 Feb 1818. He had originally wanted to be a sailor. But because of bad eyesight he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and was a private student of Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg. His early pictures followed the style of Eckersberg’s marine paintings. But Melbye soon moved towards a more international, Romantic style. He achieved international success as a marine artist, travelling widely especially to Morocco and Turkey. Anton Melbye died in Paris, 10 Jan 1875.


The Eddystone Lighthouse (1846)

His paintings are realistic, often enhanced with dramatic light and weather effects as in Eddystone Lighthouse (1846) which earned him the Thorvaldsen Medal. He was also influenced by Camille Corot whom he met in Paris where he lived from 1847 to 1858.[1]

While in Paris he met Napoleon III who ordered a large painting from him.

Melbye's marine works were in the international style but he was profoundly attracted by scenes of inclement weather and simply loved "the wild sea". This must have made him an ideal student for Eckersberg and the two established a lasting friendship.[2]


Anton Melbye: Le Pont Neuf - daguerreotype 1848

He is also remembered for his early daguerreotype photography, a technique he learnt from Louis Daguerre, the inventor.

Awards and exhibitions[edit]

In France, he was awarded the Légion d'honneur and when he returned to Denmark he received the Order of the Dannebrog.[3]

He exhibited from 1840 at Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, from 1847 on in the Salon of Paris, 1862 in London and in Hamburg, in Berlin at the Academy and in Brussels.[4]


  1. ^ Anton Melbye. From Den store Danske. (Danish) Retrieved 9 February 2010
  2. ^ "C.W. Echersberg og hans elever", Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, 1983. P.123. ISBN 87-7551-021-9.
  3. ^ Weilbach 77. (Danish) Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  4. ^ Anton Melbye. From Fine Arts Emporium. Retrieved 9 February 2010.