Laurits Andersen Ring, 'Road in the Village of Baldersbrønde (Winter Day)', 1912
In this almost monochromatic landscape, Danish artist Laurits Andersen Ring captures the moody silence of a cold winter’s day in his home village.
Thin light breaks through grey clouds, which hang heavily over a small village blanketed in snow. The snow on the road has become dirty, grey, and slushy, partially exposing the hard, brown soil beneath. A row of lifeless trees and hedgerow mark a boundary between identical stretches of untouched, white snow.
We are looking at an unassuming and straightforward winter scene in the tiny Zealand village of Baldersbrønde, near Copenhagen.
There is quiet nobility to the tidy houses, well-ordered trees, and functional road, but the space is eerily empty. The ruts of wheels show that carts have been this way, yet the inhabitants of Baldersbrønde are nowhere to be seen. There are no lights in the windows of the houses or smoke from the chimneys. It is almost as though the village has been deserted.
A skilled exponent of a cool and analytical realism, Ring was one of the foremost Danish painters of the turn of the 20th century, and lived in Baldersbrønde for 10 years. He painted many scenes of diagonal roads, village houses, and poplar trees, although few as sparse as this.