Wilhelm Bendz

Portrait of Bendz by Christen Købke

Wilhelm Ferdinand Bendz (20 March 1804 – 14 Nov.1832); Danish painter mainly known for genre works and technically accomplished portraits which often portray his artist colleagues and their daily lives. One of the most talented artists in the successful generation of painters who studied under Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg but died early and therefore left a relatively small oeuvre.

... His technical virtuosity is particularly visible in his depictions of the play of light cast from an obscured source and the resulting shadows.

At 16 he attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1820-25; he studied under Eckersberg. In his last year there, he made an unsuccessful attempt to win the gold medal - given only to history paintings, the most prestigious genre at that time. After that decided to specialize in the portraits and genre works for which he would be remembered.

After graduation he participated in annual exhibitions at Charlottenborg from 1826-28, and was then employed as an assistant in Eckersberg's studio. There he painted copies of his master's work, and participated in projects such as the reconstruction of Abildgaard's history paintings at Christiansborg Palace which had been destroyed in the fire of 1794.

In 1830 Bendz received a travel scholarship which enabled him to study in southern Europe. After visiting Dresden and Berlin, he stopped for about a year in Munich, which was then a vibrant center for the arts. In the autumn of 1832 he continued his journey towards Rome, stopping in Venice, where he was reunited with Ditlev Blunck, a friend and fellow painter from his student days at the Academy in Copenhagen. They continued on together, but Bendz, who had fallen ill in Venice, died shortly after in Vicenza from a lung infection. He was 28.
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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