To Ellen

This blog is made to the honor of my grandmother Ellen Elisabeth Thomsen who was a modern woman .
She was born in Randers in Denmark 1895 and died in Copenhagen 1976.
She had long salmon red hair down to her hips. It was braided and put up with lots of hairpins to make it look short.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Redheads and birds

A bird in a portrait can give give an extra psychological undertone that the artist thinks important.
Birds can symbolize many  different sides , innocence, freedom, confusion, noise, a bickering nature, captivation if caged, beauty, majestic power or  innocence etc 
I found several pictures which each give the red haired females another attribution 
because they also contain a bird.

Andrea Kowch

Andrea Kowch has humor and fantasy like none else, love her funny  pictures.
For me the birds in this picture show the female ability to do a million things at the same time.

Joaquin Sunyer i di Miro
What a huge body he gave her.
The bird tells about an enormous calmness so big that even a wild bird become trustful in her presence.

 I hear a clear crying seagull, combined with the cold icy  beauty. Another kind of Snow queen than the one H.C Anderson created. This one tells about being lonelyness.

Can You see the almost invisible seagull in her arm?
Many years ago I was in Norway staying at the artist house in Svolvaer .
One day I saw a huge young beige spotted seagull  in the garden ,  it was soaked in Machine oil. The huge bird  was easy to catch, because they can't fly when the oil destroy the zipper effect of the feather strings , the feathers simply can't hold the air. I took the huge bird into the shower and washed it with my hair shampoo. I had to close the sharp peek with a rubber, because it bit  me in the arms and legs. The peek is riffled in the edge like a big bread knife, so it can tear  like a sharp saw. Birds are extremely strong in the peek. The only way to get the bird to loosen the grip if it bites and wont let go, is to close it's nostrils.
When the bird was clean of oil, I dried it with a hairdryer.Then I remembered that there was a sauna
in the artist house. So the seagull and I went to the sauna.
Now this is a big bird, same size as a slim goose. So the tiny sauna was well  stuffed with the two of us.
The seagull quickly had it too hot and opened the wings. Then I remembered that animals 
and birds don't sweat  trough the skin, but trough the mouth, so I removed the rubber from it's peek.
After some time I couldn't stand the heat any longer and wanted to go out, but the seagull didn't want  and 
was now so recovered that  it could fly and fight, which it did.
The seagull caught my nose in the strong peek and gave me a tor of the skin that looked
like the irritating tors that kids gets in their pants in a 90 degree angle.
I finally got the seagull out. The feathers were fine and no signs of oil .I decided it could stay indoor over the night so it would not get a cold from the big temperature difference between the sauna and outdoors.
In the harbor I bought some smaller fish.
The seagull swallowed all the fish with an enormous appetite, it looked at me as to ask is there more?
So I went to get more. It was extremely hungry!
The other artists in the house were afraid of the huge seagull, so I locked it in the living room over the night
We slept well  all of us and in the morning I was the first  down to look at  the seagull , 
and got the worst surprise.
The huge bird had shit all over , huge stinking seas of watery white slime and half digested fish pieces all over the tables and sofa , in  the windows ,on the Television on pictures and the on the carpet.
Hours of work a head of me, not to speak of the blaming words from my fellow artists.
The bird was not staying another day!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was escorted out in the garden. I gave it another 3-4 fish as a goodbye  present.
And expected it would fly away. But no it staid. It staid all the month I was there 
and begged for food! So I gave it  what ever was left of our meals.
Half a year later on, my parents also went to visit the Svolvaer's artist house,
and who was still there? "Pia's seagull" as it now was called in the town, where everyone 
knew the begging feathered devil.
It was now fully grown and got the fine white and grey color.
Who knows perhaps it's still there, I hear they can get very old.
Here is a photo of another big Seagull.
 With the wings  opened, they measure more than a meter .
The bird is ca 60 cm from head to tail and weigh around perhaps 3 kilo.

Seagull by Michael Miloserdoff

So welcome to this post where I found redheads with birds.

Agate Apkalne

Here the birds fly out of her chest symbolizing  captivity, perhaps  only trough 
the feelings or thoughts can this woman escape.

Angel Zarraga
Sweet as a chicken.

Paul Helleu
Elegant as the peacock

Karl Albert Buehr

2 caged birds , Buehr also had humor!

De Riquer

So many chickens symbolize compassion and how we take care of even the most innocent.

Constant Montald

Motherhood in all it's variations.

Robert Lewis Reid
Who doesn't love Japanese Kimonos
Again ascetic elegance.

The owl has always symbolized cleverness, 
but here it also symbolizes compassion and fragility 
It characterizes the woman , not only is she a seldom beauty but she has all this sides
that the owl represent , besides being rare and possessing a mysterious serene wildness.
Had she caressed a turkey I don't think it would have given any flattering hints to hidden sides of her.

Theresa Oats
Owl on a screen
The bird  looks rather dumb.Compared to the Owl above,

Giovanni Segantini

Can't tell what this symbolizes but  perhaps the Female orgasm?

I have to add a picture that is almost identical in idea ,
but the birds are exchanged with a much more
impressive animal.
Have to add as a female artist I would never get the idea to paint men in water
with either screaming seagulls or luring ice bears.

Arthur Wardle

N.C. Wyeth
A wish for freedom?

He also made two  pictures of red haired men with birds


Here the birds don't symbolize anything, the man is collecting eggs.

N.C Wyeth
Robinson Crusoe
The parrot always illustrated solitude and the fact that many lonely people talk to them self to fight the
silence and situation that they have none to talk with.
But I guess in this situation it is over analyzing.....  Robinson Crusoe is just teaching his parrot to talk

Frederick Sandys
The raven always symbolizes  fate and warnings.

This print is nicer and much more dramatic
and the proportions of the different details are more interesting,
 than in  following painting .
Just too bad that  she got really short legged in the painting.
And the bird went from being a raven in the print  to becoming
 a blackbird with a ridiculous hunchback .

Frederic Sandys

I have to put a few words of praise for a bird I had the enormous
privilege to mother until he was big enough to take care of himself.
He is a Bulbul  by the name NYP .And he still comes when I call him .
One day I will make a painting of him and me.

NYP sitting on my computer.

 A bulbul couple made a nest in one of my big plants, laid 3 eggs,and grew  two of them to feathers and left a tiny naked chick in the nest and flew with the stronger siblings. I called him NYP and took him because the parents seemed to have abandoned  him. NYP grew in a small plastic cage which
my sons have for their obscure love for Mantises. Lots of this huge green or brownish elegant insects have crawled on each cm of my home for as long as I can remember , but they were now bandoned for the months it took to grow NYP to his full size. Being well experienced in catching flies for all the Mantis after my sons didn't find it funny any longer, I got some really hard  job with this small purple featherless chick.It had to eat every 8-10 minutes, during the whole day And there are't that many flies around when You need them. Hunting flies became a full time occupation for a whole month util he could manage by himself . I laid meat out and let it rotten in the sun, so it brought more flies
and they were relatively easy to catch,  if one hold a plastic bag upside down over them.
NYP ate like probably never before and got a few downs on the head and naked tiny body. He could not stand on his feet, because he could not open the toes. So I made a small snowshoe for each foot and taped the toes open unto the snowshoes. After some time he managed to walk a little and then I added a stick to the cage that he had to hold unto it with his toes.
NYP sat on my shoulder most of the day and I went everywhere with him even outdoors.
He would hide under my ear and in my long hair. He eventually learned to fly and flew for small trips out of the window to the closest tree. When something scared him he flew quickly home to his place under my ear.
His parents recognized the chick and tried to adopt him back . But he did not want them. They tried every day without luck.  But after a few months I had to travel for an Exhibition and could not bring NYP with
me. When I came home he had left our home and only comes visiting every day staring in trough the windows or sitting talking to me a meter away on some low branch of our big Jacaranda tree. He never lands on my shoulder anymore. But I can like a bird mother recognize his voice between 100 other Bulbuls. And he still comes when I call him. He now has a family of his own  and I am happy he became a wild bird again..

NYP resting in my husbands hands

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leonora Christine

Leonora Christine Ulfeldt
was the daughter of Denmark's king Christian IV and his second wife the Noble Kirsten Munk
 All pictures that are known of her seem to be copies of each other.
In most portraits she wears a feathered hat and chain upon chains of pearls .
It was not unusual that pictures were sent as gifts to other royal relatives .
 In order not to make a direct copy the artists changed the clothes a bit and
painted the person  in a mirrored position.
But what is very strange is that in some pictures
she is painted as a redhead and in others she has dark brown hair
Some few of the portraits are made under her lifetime but most are made long after she passed away.
For those of you who don't know anything about her.
She was born in Denmark 1621 and died 1698
she had  the sad fate to be imprisoned  for 22 years,
because of her her husbands treason. We learned about her that she became a victim
between her loyalty towards her husband on count of her loyalty towards her father and country.
For me and other people born on the island Bornholm she is specially important because part of her
rough imprisonment was endured on our  majestic ruined Castle Hammerhus.
A place that every inhabitant of the island visit at least once a year.
She is always in our minds when walking on the grass covered castle.
I bring her here in this blog because she had red hair at least the first part of her life.

Unknown artist
Leonora Christine
Mid 1800 century painting

Leonora Christine

In this reproduction of Leonora Christine
her hair color is lighter and more reddish.

Small picture of Leonora Christine

Leonora Christine in a Print 1648  Flora Danica  Sim.Paulii

Gerrit van Honthorst
Leonora Christine 1647

Leonora Christine
Look at the two pearls in her hair

Karel van Mander
Leonora Christine

Here she has red hair and extremely long arms.
 It is hard to say which of all
the many portraits show her as she was.
On some pictures she seems very short and then on others like this one she is a giant of a woman.

There is another version of this picture where she is pictured with  Valdemar Christian
So far I was only able to find it in a black and white photo.

Karel van Mander
Leonora's arms get longer and longer.

Leonora Christine 

Leonora Christine Ulfeldt

Corfitz Ulfeldt and his wife Leonora Christine
Again with the same hat feather and Pearls.

Here under comes  portraits o,f Corfitz which all seem to have been painted later on.
It seems the painter used the Engraving as inspiration, since the couple was long dead

Corfitz Ulfeldt also had red hair as you can see in the following picture

Corfitz Ulfeldt husband of  Leonora Christine
He is also a redhead on some  paintings.

Corfitz Ulfeldt in a  Lithography of the painting above.

Corfitz Ulfeldt in a later Lithography

Corfitz Ulfeldt

Corfitz Ulfeldt

Corfitz Ulfeldt 

The Danish Painter Kristian Zahrtmann who was born in Rønne
on the island Bornholm,  used  Leonora Kristine as subject in a many paintings.
Her sad fate made a huge impression on him , 
his mother or Madame Ullebølle posed as models for her.
I remember many of  this pictures from my childhood visits to Bornholm's museum.

Kristian Zahrtmann
Self portrait 1914

Kristian Zahrtmann
To this portrait Zahrtman used Karel van Manders as inspiration
But he corrected the long arms and painted her as a beautiful red haired princess.

Kristian Zahrtmann
Leonora and Corfitz

Kristian Zahrtmann
Leonora Christine in her cell.
Here the ruins of Hammershus must have been  in his mind.

Kristian Zahrtmann
Sketch of Leonora Christine in the jail.

Kristian Zahrtmann
Leonore Christine in her jail

Leonora Christine before Queen Sofie Amalie
Don't know who made this Lithographic print

Queen Sophie Amalie
This queen was married to Leonora Christine's half brother Frederik III
who ruled Denmark after the death of his father Christian IV.

Here is a picture of the couple when they were younger.

Unknown Artist

Sophie Amalie did not want to release Leonora Christine from prison. 
Perhaps she liked the sister in laws pearls too much! 
I also speculated if Christian the Fourth on purpose kept his daughter in prison because of 
the wealth that he had confiscated from her husband  Corfitz Ulfeldt. The money was very much needed 
in the states economy which was rapidly shrinking after the costly 30 year War ,which  Denmark had part in during 1623-29. I read somewhere that Copenhagen was floated with beggars at this time.

Only when queen Sophie Amalie died , was Leonora  finally released.

Zahrtmann painted 2 variations of the death of Sophie Amalie and it is not difficult 
to see where his sympathy was lying.
Do compare this 2 pictures  to the way he pictured Leonora Christine's death.

Kristian Zahrtmann
Sophie Amalies death

Kristian Zahrtmann
Another version of Sophie Amalies death

Now Leonora finally after 22 years got released from prison.

Sketch for Leonora leaving the prison.

Sketch for Leonora 
So red hair!!!

Leonora  leaving the Jail

One of Zahrtmanns sculptures 

Kristian Zahrtmann
Another version of Leonora.

Kristian Zahrtmann
Other sketches of Leonora. Christine

Kristian Zahrtmannn

Leonora Christine's meal

Kristian Zahrtmann
Leonora Christine in Maribo Cloister.
Perhaps she is reading her memoirs?

Kristian Zahrtmann
Sketch for the picture above, he changed the hands position.

Kristian Zahrtmann

Kristian Zarhtmann
Leonora Christine in Maribo Cloister

Kristian Zahrtmann

Kristian Zahrtmann
Leonora Christines death

Peder Henrik Kristian Zahrtmann
Leonora Christine's death

22 years she was in prison , she later wrote a self biography, called Jammers minde
It was found many years after her death and only published  around year 1869.
This is the original Titel page

This Book I have about her, it is a much later print.

First page of Leonora Christine's handwritten self biography from 1673
can be read on the Royal Library of Copenhagen 

Leonora Christine's self portrait

Pia Ranslet

 Leonora Christine was in my mind when I painted this portrait.
seeing her as a strong and proud woman with a mixture of arrogance and bitterness.
The red hair I believe she got from her mothers side of the family.

Portrait of  Kirsten Munk the mother of  Leonora Christine
This portrait of her  is an almost exact copy of the portrait below.

Here is Kirsten Munk with her 4 of her 12 children. 
As you can see Leonora Christine had red hair as a child.
Leonora  is the smallest girl shown furthest to the right. So this  points out that  the two first portraits of her in this blog with brown hair are portraits she perhaps never sat for .
The Artists perhaps never saw her or an original paintings of her, 

and could have painted her after an engraving ?
On the other hand many red haired women get almost copper brown when they get their children.

Jacob van Doordt
Kirsten Munck

Kirsten Munk  the mother of Leonora Christine

Kristine Munk 

This is also supposed to be Kirsten Munk.

Leonora Christine's grandfather Ludwig Munk

He was also red haired

You may also like to read conversations about Leonora and  her family life on