Artists, beaches and cars in Jutland, April 2017

The struggle with words continues. I have made several attempts to write notes on recent events – notably the strong man tactics being used by President Erdogan in Turkey to consolidate his power – but I haven’t been satisfied with the results. My arguments are either confused or banal. I don’t find it easy to get to the heart of the matter. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed – one of my favourite words – by the ugly manifestations of stupidity and prejudice that seem to characterise both economic policies and international relations. With the Brexiteers blundering in a fog of little Englishness and the USA in the hands of a mob of dangerous goofs, it is quite difficult to analyse “the way forward.” As an observer recently pointed out: what is going on when the choice (for French voters in the presidential election) is between a banker and a fascist!?

So it seems to make more sense to reflect on the beauty of nature and to indulge in the drama of exploration. Lene and I had some days doing just that when we returned to northern Jutland for a long weekend. But even in the ”stress free zone” of our hotel, the real world was hard to shut out.

IMG_2670We did our best in conducive surroundings. The northern town of Skagen is famous for a short-lived artistic movement at the end of 19th Century, when a group of painters got together in the remote fishing village and produced a series of pictures depicting the lives of the people and the light in the region. There’s a very good museum where many of their works can be found, ranging from fisherman’s faces to carefully drawn interiors and colourful gardens. I’m a fan of P. S. Krøyer in particular; his painting of two women walking on the beach at Skagen on a summer evening is a blue haze of beauty and dreams.

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The top of Denmark – as the tourist operators call the region – has some wild and spectacular scenery, not least the endless beaches. In the course of 48 hours we managed to reach the spit of land where the Kattegat meets the Skagerrak, stroll around shifting sand dunes that have buried a church and race along the breezy beach in the chilly early morning close to our hotel. Sometimes the beaches seem a bit bleak, but the big skies and the gentle roar of the waves are fantastic.

IMG_2676A curious phenomenon in the region is that cars are driven on beaches. We battled with the motorways of Jutland to get to and from Skagen, realising once again that the Danish countryside, infrastructure and townscapes have been shaped by the power of the “motorist’s lobby.” The provision of space for parking cars has transformed many towns and cities. But why people have been given the right to drive on beaches is a bit beyond me…

2 thoughts on “Artists, beaches and cars in Jutland, April 2017

  1. Bonjour Mike
    Est-ce trop tard pour écrire ?
    Je parcours ton blog de temps en temps et avec grand plaisir, mais, en raison de la langue, je mets de côté les textes que je veux lire car ça me prend du temps (il me faut parfois le dictionnaire), et c’est seulement maintenant que j’ai lu ton texte daté du 3 mai !
    Je découvre ce peintre P. S. Krøyer que je ne connaissais pas. La reproduction du tableau m’a vraiment beaucoup plu. Il m’a fait penser à certains tableaux du peintre espagnol Joaquín Sorolla y Batista et aussi au peintre belge Léon Spilliaert (quoique les tableaux de Spilliaert soient plus noirs), deux peintres que j’aime beaucoup et qui sont contemporains de Krøyer. J’avais pu voir le musée Sorolla a Madrid qui m’avait enchanté et une expo sur Spilliaert à Ostende qui m’avait envoutée.
    Je vais me renseigner plus sur P. S. Krøyer.
    Merci pour cette découverte.
    MF

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    1. Chère Marie-France, Merci beaucoup! Je crois que vous pourriez trouver plus d’informations sur P.S. Krøyer et les peintres de Skagen, par exemple en regardant: https://skagenskunstmuseer.dk L’autre option c’est de rendre visite à Skagen dans les nord de Jutland (et de nous visiter après…). Meilleures salutations! Mike

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