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Danby image

Francis Danby (1793–1861)
The Procession of Cristna
Watercolor and gouache, heightened with white gouache, with gum arabic, some scratching out, on paper
7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches (190 x 266 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund; 2001.18.
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In the summer of 1825, Danby traveled through the mountains of Norway and sketched the terrain. Afterward he remarked, "These kind of scenes are better in pictures than reality, and faith I own I was heartily sick of them." Nevertheless the Norwegian landscape haunted him for years, informing a number of later works, including the present drawing. This sublime fantasy has been speculatively named for Cristna, a lost poem by Danby that he referred to as "no more than a romance." Lacking an extant narrative, the interpretation remains mysterious: Nordic rocks loom over an exotic caravan, dwarfing elephants and a faceless throng of travelers.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.