Visiting it in person always leaves me in awe. Exploring its history humbles me. The changes have been dramatic over the centuries, and I feel a part of that history with every trip into Bergen — even if we’re just driving through.
I am acquainted with this city in the 21st century. But as I explored the Internet, searching for paintings, I found myself drawn to the ones depicting the area from about mid-1500 to mid-1800.
The painting I decided to feature is from the early 1800s, and most closely resembles the perspective of a photo I took from Nordnes, across the harbor from the area most easily recognizable as Bergen.
The painting is a perspective from the fjord just outside the mouth of the harbor; you can see Rosenkrantz Tower and other buildings of the Bergenhus Fortress, the familiar silhouettes of Bryggen, Bergen Cathedral‘s (Domkirken) towers rising in the distance … and of course, Fløyen and Ulriken provide the steady and permanent backdrop, their painted contours adjusted for the different viewpoint. Aside from the obvious changes to the harbor over the years, there is one major difference between the painting and my photo … that Danish flag! Shown in this 1801 painting, it wasn’t there for very much longer, as the changes of 1814 were just around the corner.
(Here is where I was standing when I took my photograph; the perspective of the painting is out in the fjord to the left.)
I found many other paintings in my Internet wanderings that I think are so interesting: artists’ interpretations of Bergen’s tiny population’s growth in a strategic, protected harbor towards the city it is today. I decided that these paintings (and, if I could find them, artist credit) deserve a spot in this post also.
Have you researched the area of the world in which you live? What painters — famous or unknown — have captured the essence of your area through their paintings?
(Tusen, tusen takk to my wonderful husband for his research help in trying to track down the identity of a few of the artists of some of these paintings! He thinks the uncredited artists are probably Dutch; if you recognize an artist, please let us know!)