The drowned fisherman
Michael Ancher got the idea for this painting after a dramatic event in 1894 in which two fishermen drowned. One of them was the fisherman and rescuer Lars Kruse, who had become famous in Denmark in 1879 after the poet Holger Drachmann wrote a short story about his heroism. Several national newspapers thus wrote about Kruse’s funeral. The other person who drowned was a young man. Ancher painted many pictures of fishermen in the 1870s and 1880s, and The drowned fisherman was his last major figure composition with fishermen as the subject matter. The image is structured as a stage where the two fishermen in the foreground have stepped to the side, exposing to the viewer the table with the drowned man. The grave atmosphere of the scene is emphasized by the solemn faces of the fishermen and the drowned man is highlighted by the yellow raincoat and the sunlight coming from the window.