Vilhelm Melbye

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Vilhelm Melbye
Vilhelm Melbye.jpg
Born (1824-05-14)14 May 1824
Helsingør, Denmark
Died 6 October 1882(1882-10-06) (aged 58)
Roskilde, Denmark
Nationality Danish
Education Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Known for Marine painting
Movement Romanticism

Knud Frederik Vilhelm Hannibal Melbye (14 May 1824 – 6 October 1882) was a Danish marine artist, the brother of Anton Melbye and Fritz Melbye. He worked in London from 1853 to 1866 and, over the course of his career, painted seascapes, coastal and harbor scenes, sailing vessels and topographical subjects in many parts of Europe, especially in the Mediterranean region.


Melbye was born on 14 May 1824 in Elsinore, Denmark. He first trained to become a merchant but then turned to painting, studying under his older brother Anton, already an established marine painter, and attending the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1844 to 1847. He also took private classes in perspective drawing with Carl Dahl.

In 1847, he went on his first journey, to Iceland aboard the corvette Valkyrien. In 1848, he became one of the first artists to paint in Skagen.[1] The same year he traveled to Paris by way of Düsseldorf.[2] In Paris he studied with Théodore Gudin (1802–1880) before returning to Denmark in 1849.

From 1853 to 1866, he lived in London and it was here he changed his name from Vilhelm to Wilhelm.

He was appointed Professor at the academy in Copenhagen in 1880 but died in 1882 in Roskilde. He is interred at Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen.


Vilhelm Melbye preferred a realistic style, often also with romantic or dramatic scenes. Many of his works depict southern European coastal or harbor views. He was influenced by his older brother and teacher Anton Melbye but another important influence in his oeuvre was the Düsseldorf School, especially Andreas Achenbach.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vilhelm Melbye", Den Store Danske. (in Danish) Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Wilhelm Melbye". AOK. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Marine Art Wanted: Sell your 19th Century Painting". Fine Art Emperium. Retrieved 2010-01-04.