The Town
  • TitleThe Town
  • Technique/ MaterialOlja på duk
  • DimensionsDimensions: (h x b) 94,5 x 53 cm
    Frame: (h x b x dj) 101 x 60 x 5 cm
  • DatingExecuted 1903
  • Artist/Maker Artist: August Strindberg, Swedish, born 1849-01-22, dead 1912-05-14
  • CategoryPaintings, Paintings
  • Inventory No.NM 4516
  • AcquisitionInköp 1949
  • Description
    Images and media

    We see a dark landscape dominated by a sky filled with monumental cloud formations in white, black and grey. The lower part of the painting comprises an expanse of water, and in the foreground a dark shore. In the background, on the horizon, we get a glimpse of a city. A dome rises up above the other buildings and is reflected in the water. If you look carefully, you can see that the artist applied the paint with a palette knife rather than brushes. It looks like the paint has been spread over the surface the way you might spread butter on bread.

    We can hardly see this painting as a true depiction of reality, although the city on the horizon may be reminiscent of Venice or Stockholm. It almost looks as if the city is floating on the water, like a mirage. The dramatic sky, the hint of a city silhouette and the shockingly dark colour palette combine to give the impression of a fantasy or a vision. What is the painting expressing? One might see it as threatening, with its foreboding and dramatically stormy sky. The painting may also convey a sense of distance and alienation. The city – perhaps a symbol of civilisation, culture and life – is a long way off. As we look at the city, we find ourselves in an unidentified dark landscape far removed from civilised society.