Segments in this Video

Danish National Identity (02:36)


Denmark is the happiest nation on earth, according to the U.N. The Hans Christian Anderson ride in Tivoli Gardens belies his disturbing stories. National art reflects empire ambitions.

Frederiksborg Castle (03:46)

Christian IV ruled Denmark in the early 17th century. Inspired by Renaissance and Baroque art, he commissioned a palace and imported German craftsmen and Dutch architect Hans van Steenwinckel. Tour the interior and view portraits of the king, queens, and mistresses.

Hans Christian Andersen (03:39)

After failed attempts at empire, Denmark retreated for 150 years. Graham-Dixon visits Andersen's childhood home in Odense. He attended public schools that provided new opportunities for poor Danes to advance. His stories feature social satire; many protagonists rise from humble origins.

Hans Christian Andersen's Papercuts (04:15)

A bachelor, the author's visual art reveals his personality. Graham-Dixon visits a conservation studio holding his private collection and reflects on parallels with the Danish national identity; one work represents his poor luck in love.

Nikolaj Grundtvig (02:17)

Inspired by the Enlightenment, the priest founded the Danish Society— a free organization featuring lectures on Danish academic topics. Society was becoming less hierarchical.

Bertel Thorvaldsen (03:36)

The 19th century sculptor studied in Rome and brought classical sculpture into Scandinavian art. His self-portrait resembles a Norse hero and references humble origins as the son of an Icelandic immigrant.

Danish Revolution (01:57)

In 1849, the people took power from the king in a bloodless coup. Thorvaldsen's "Jason and the Golden Fleece" represents the new democratic Denmark and echoes classical values.

Christoffer Eckersberg (03:05)

The Danish artist sought a baron's patronage as a young man. View an erotic image he painted on a cigar box. Graham-Dixon proposes that Hans Christian Ørsted's discovery of electromagnetism and the Enlightenment inspired Eckersberg.

Denmark's Artistic Revolution (04:24)

Eckersberg trained at the Danish Royal Academy and donated paintings of male and female nudes. Models were working people paid by the artist. Graham-Dixon discusses their straight forward nature, lack of eroticism, and expression of the Danish identity.

"Mother Denmark" (05:04)

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann's 1851 painting demonstrates Denmark's 19th century nationalist movement. Learn about the Second Schleswig War. Series actor Søren Malling explains how defeat by Prussia and loss of territory impacted the national identity.

Vilhelm Hammershøi (03:37)

Andersen, Thorvaldsen and Eckersberg represent Denmark's golden age. After 1864, the nation experienced a period of anxiety, reflected in Hammershøi's works. A contemporary of Ibsen and Munch, Hammershøi expresses an introverted Danish mentality.

Funen Village (02:25)

In the early 20th century, Denmark turned inward. Graham-Dixon visits an outdoor museum representing Danish nostalgia for peaceful domesticity. Made during World War II, it also symbolizes the modern national psyche.

Lego Denmark (01:51)

Graham-Dixon proposes that Scandinavia's most famous global export turns playrooms into mini versions of democratic Danish society—encouraging children to play nicely and together.

Danish Design (03:10)

The Danish word "hygge," meaning intimate and cozy, inspired modern furniture and household objects. Graham-Dixon discusses their sculptural aspects and compares Danish modernism to that of other countries.

Grundtvig's Church (03:51)

Graham-Dixon discusses how staying small suits the Danish national identity. A church in Copenhagen symbolizes Denmark's modern, democratic aesthetic.

Credits: Once Upon a Time in Denmark: Episode 2—Art of Scandinavia (00:35)

Credits: Once Upon a Time in Denmark: Episode 2—Art of Scandinavia

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Once Upon a Time in Denmark: Episode 2—Art of Scandinavia

Part of the Series : Art of Scandinavia
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



In episode two of Andrew Graham-Dixon's epic journey through Scandinavian art and landscape, Denmark emerges from modest beginnings to become a great power and arbiter of taste in northern Europe, a story of transformation befitting the homeland of the greatest fairytale spinner of them all, Hans Christian Andersen. In this film, Graham-Dixon traces Denmark’s failed imperial experiment, beginning with Christian IV’s reign. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Andersen, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Christoffer Eckersberg represented a golden age in Danish art. After defeat by Prussia in 1864, Denmark turned inward and focused on building a stable, democratic nation, illustrated in Vilhelm Hammershoi’s introverted paintings. The “small is beautiful” mentality is further seen in Danish modern furniture design, inspired by the “hygge” concept, and in Legoland. A BBC Production.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL115617

ISBN: 978-1-68272-966-3

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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