Trees and Snowy Mountains

Astrup, Nikolai

Oil on canvas, 56x54cm, KODE - Bergen Art Museum

In the paintingTrees and Snow-covered MountainNikolai Astrup has depicted nature as it becomes animated, in the sense that the landscape and the human figure literally merge together.

In the mountain range at the top of the picture a reclining woman’s body can be glimpsed, dozing under a blanket of ice and snow. We can see the knees that reach towards the sky, the abdomen that merges with the breasts and a reposing arm that leads the viewer’s gaze downward towards the lake.

The mountains that lie north of Jølstravannet went under the nickname of ‘Ice Queen’ long before Astrup’s time, so the mountain formation does actually have a shape that can resemble a reclining female body. Nevertheless, there is nothing automatic about Astrup’s depiction of the mountains in this manner; it is a characteristic expression of his uniquely personal vision and interpretation of the landscape.