Midsummer Bonfire at Skagen
The beginnings of Krøyer’s late masterpiece from 1906, Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach, were as early as 1892, when the artist made his first sketch.
This later sketch from 1894 is part of the collection in Anchers Hus. Unlike the final artwork, the sketch does not show members of the artists’ colony, but only local villagers around the bonfire.
Krøyer’s fascination with fire, and how the light from flames was reflected was a subject that had occupied him since the 1870s. Krøyer had seen the Mount Vesuvius volcano on his travels between 1877-1881 and he regretted not being in Copenhagen when the royal palace, Christiansborg, went up in flames in 1884. The rendering of light was a crucial element for Krøyer, whether it was sunlight, moonlight or in this case, the flickering light of the fire.
Fourteen years would pass after the first sketches with only the local fishermen around the bonfire, until the final artwork was completed in 1906, and Krøyer was satisfied with his depiction of the blazing fire.