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Drawing by Wilhelm Marstrand.
Drawing by Wilhelm Marstrand.

VICIOUS WIT. Marstrand’s caricatures

Corner display

23 February - 31 July 2022

The Hirschsprung Collection is home to a large number of satirical drawings and caricatures by Wilhelm Marstrand. Often exploring problematic topics, these works engage in a play of identities, politics and power relations. In the context of recent discussions regarding identity politics, colonial history and racial issues, one of the central and recurring themes is often the question of where to draw the line: what can be deemed permissible in the name of humour?

However, the conditions surrounding satire are very different today compared to the nineteenth century. Back then, there was no freedom of speech, so humour and irony offered important ways of evading censorship.

For an artist like Marstrand, caricature was also an artistic strategy enabling him to capture a particular character, type or situation. In this spring’s Corner Display, we take a closer look at ten of his caricatures – presenting types that he would transform and use in his many narrative paintings.

Corner displays

Corner Displays are small, intimate exhibitions presented in a corner of the museum. Each Display focuses on a particular corner of the collection, highlighting masterpieces from the collection, hidden gems and oddities.