Alexander Lauréus (1783–1823) was born in Finland, but he left his native town already in 1802 when he moved to Stockholm. He received his education at the Swedish Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and he soon became a successful and highly esteemed artist of the early Romantic era.
The exhibition at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum in Helsinki is based on new research and a refreshing new evaluation of Alexander Lauréus’ life and artistic production. The viewer is invited to follow in the artist’s footsteps from his early years as a student in Stockholm to the last years of his life, which he spent in Rome. In 1823 his life was cut short when he died of a sudden fever at the age of 40.
Throughout his entire career his main source of inspiration was Dutch seventeenth-century art and he specialized in genre painting. Already as a student at the Academy he had the advantage of free access to the Royal collections in Stockholm. He practiced his oil painting skills by carefully studying and copying seventeenth-century masters such as Rembrandt, Gerrit Dou and Godfried Schalken. He soon became a master of painting smooth shifts of light and shadow, and in accordance with the romantic spirit of his day, he specialized in firelight images. In his paintings he explored the dark interiors or landscapes illuminated by a candle, a torch or a bonfire. Sometimes moonlight added to the atmosphere.
The exhibition gathers together around 70 oil paintings and a selection of drawings from more then twenty different lenders in Finland and Sweden. A new publication (in Finnish, Swedish and English) presents a comprehensive view of his oevre and situates the artist in the international context of his day.