Friday, 18 May 2012

Copenhagen architecture

I didn't take many photos in Copenhagen but there were some very interesting modern buildings.  The national library has a wonderful glass wall

while both the national theatre

and the opera house are very striking.

All these building are built out over the harbour.  The thing that always strikes me about architecture in continental countries, however, is that modern domestic buildings appear to be of a much higher standard than their British equivalent.  Here is the area where my nephew lives: modern apartment blocks, all with balconies and really well appointed and roomy inside.  Note the moorings for boats behind the trees in the middle of the picture.

We took a boat trip round the harbour where new apartments have been built or converted from old warehouses and parts of the old navy base.  A bit like London docklands.

Of course there are plenty of traditional buildings too.  We went to the Folk Museum section of the National Museum.  I am addicted to folk museums which I first discovered in Sweden twenty years ago and could have spent all day there.  Here is a traditional thatched farmhouse.  Note the way the thatch is anchored with wooden beams.

Finally, I could not resist taking photos from my nephew's balcony of the building at the end of the street.  This is a bank.  I think this shot has lots of potential for design - look at how the sun is reflected in the glass walls.  I need to spend some time with this image and fiddle with it in Elements.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Copenhagen and Danish art

Last week I went to Copenhagen with my sister to visit one of our nephews and his wife.  We had a great time and much better weather than here - it was actually fine most of the time with no rain at all.  We visited several places within reach of the city including the Karen Blixen museum.  This is the house where she lived on her return from Africa.  It was her family's home, a farmhouse that had once been an inn.  It gives a good idea of the kind of houses more affluent people lived in.  From there it was just a short drive to Elsinore but we arrived too late to go into the castle. It had just closed and the tourists were pouring out so we contented ourselves with viewing it across the ramparts.

Next day was Sunday and as absolutely all the museums and galleries are closed on Monday we decided to abandon our original plan to go to Roskilde and instead go to the Danish national art gallery and the Hirschsprung collection.  The big attraction was an exhibition of paintings from the Skagen art colony.  Skagen lies in the far north of Denmark where the light comes off the Baltic and has particular qualities in the way that light in Penwith does.  The art colony existed at the same time as the Newlyn School.  I had spent the previous Saturday at a Day School at Penlee House on the links between the Newlyn School and the Brittany painters as that is the subject of Penlee House's summer exhibition.  It was very interesting to see another example of work of this kind, depicting fishing communities at the end of the nineteenth century.  The difference was that in Skagen all the fishing was done off the beach and the countryside is dunes that are reminiscent of scenes from the Wallander detective books and TV films.  

Fishermen hauling nets, North Beach, Skagen
P.S. Kroyer

While we were in Copenhagen the moon was amazing.  My nephew's apartment overlooks an expanse of undeveloped land near the old Tuborg brewery and beyond it are the dock and then the bridge to Sweden: yes, that bridge from the latest thriller.  Although I only had a smallish camera and no tripod, one evening we took photos from the balcony as the sun went down. They are a bit wobbly because of the lack of tripod but still worth seeing. 

With a bit of imagination you can see how the Skagen painters were inspired by summer evenings such as these.

Sommeraften ven Skagens strand
P.S. Kroyer