After the storm, 1873
Vilhelm Melbye is the younger brother of Anton, whose pupil he becomes after working as a merchant and teacher. From 1844-1847 he attends the Royal Danish Academy of Art, where he is taught perspective by Carl Dahl (1812-1865). A study trip took him to Paris in 1848, where he temporarily works in Théodore Gudin‘s (1802-1880) studio. He used numerous other trips to France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Norway and Sweden to devote himself intensively to the study of nature. Vilhelm Melbye‘s oeuvre, dominated by seascapes, is characterised by both a realistic and a romantic view of landscape. Although he is still overshadowed by his brother today, he is a master in the depiction of atmospheric effects.
After the Storm, with its warm colouring and emotional narrative of sea rescue, is a characteristic example of the impulses of Romanticism: the numerous depictions of past eras celebrating the mastery of the sea by technical progress are increasingly being replaced by motifs depicting man‘s powerlessness in the face of nature. The world order is being redefined: Where previously proudly flagged ships braved the raging storms, symbolising the steadfastness of their nation, sailing ships now steer into a mysterious future with an uncertain outcome.