Knives and forks are at the ready, gazes are smouldering and fierce. This is one of Bloch’s most popular genre images and typifies his seductive ability to depict details with striking realism. His technical skill and colour schemes link him to the artists who, opposing the dominant movements in Denmark, looked to contemporary Europe for inspiration. Even so, Bloch was regarded as Denmark’s greatest painter. His virtuoso skill and penchant for compelling narratives ensured his position. Genre paintings offered a breathing space in between the numerous commissions for instructive historical paintings and altarpieces. Coarse fisherwomen and monks suffering from toothaches were favourite motifs. Amusing, yet also eerie images, they very much leave themselves open to interpretation.
(Text courtesy of the National Gallery of Denmark; Image CC BY 3.0).