Spring and Ice Thaw under Barren Mountain

undefined undefined undefined, 1919 - 1922, 960 x 1250 mm

De kongelige samlinger

The looming Kleivefjellet mountain dominates the picture plane in this painting. The composition is symmetrical, as in the painting Barren Mountain, which this is a variation of. Our gaze is drawn to the white line of snow that remains in the giant crevice in the middle of the mountain. Whereas Barren Mountain depicts an oppressive and raw November atmosphere, this is a spring motif. The colours are warmer, and large ice floes are breaking up in the lake. Sprouting up from the pollard willow in the foreground are slender, healthy branches bearing pussy willows, harbingers of warmer days to come. 

In the painting Spring and Ice Thaw under Barren Mountain Astrup has focused on the mountain Kleivefjellet, which is situated by Kjøsnesfjorden in Jølster. The painting is a variation on Barren Mountain (K53; 1905–1906), and depicts the view from one of the windows in the childhood home of Astrup’s wife, Engel Astrup. She grew up on the Sunde farm in Jølster, and according to Astrup, he painted this motif from the vantage point of her room around the time they met, in Autumn 1905. An important distinction between these two versions is that Barren Mountain has an autumn atmosphere, while this version has a spring atmosphere.

The monumental mountain formation fills the format and is symmetrically positioned, and this is accentuated by the transverse position of Kjøsnesfjorden, which in turn is broken up by the diagonal lines of the landscape along the sides in the foreground. Øystein Loge characterises this this work as a frontal composition. This is a formula that we see in other paintings as well, such as The Parsonage Garden (K44), Spring Atmosphere (K181) and Grey Spring Evening (K77). Loge compares the use of the frontal perspective, as an artistic device, to the icon, which symbolically establishes a connection between human beings and a spiritual deity. The frontal perspective is also a pictorial device that amplifies a direct and intense impression of nature.

Conrad and Aslaug Mohr purchased the painting directly from the artist in 1922. The painting was presented as a gift to King Olav V of Norway in 1957, and today it is included in the Royal Collections.  


Nikolai Astrup



Conrad Mohr



Aslaug Mohr



Olav V




1928-10-10 - 1928-11-4

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling




1928-11-11 - 1928-12-9

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Kristiania (Oslo)


1955-1-10 - 1955-12-31

Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt




1986-6-21 - 1986-8-15

Nikolai Astrup. Naturkjensle mot industrisamfunnet

Sandalstrand, Jølster



1987-5-23 - 1987-9-30

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928





Kunstnernes Hus, Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt. Kunstnernes Hus. Oslo, 1955, 21.

Bergens Kunstforening, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Mindeutstilling. A/S John Griegs Boktrykkeri. Bergen, 1928, 15.

Bergens Kunstforening, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Mindeutstilling. A/S John Griegs Boktrykkeri. Bergen, 1928.

Bergens Kunstforening, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Mindeutstilling. A/S John Griegs Boktrykkeri. Bergen, 1928.

Loge, Øystein, Nikolai Astrup. Naturkjensle mot industrisamfunnet. Jølster kommune. Jølster, 1986, 6.

Stiftelsen Modums Blaafarveværk, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. [s.n.]. Modum, 1987, 52.

Loge, Øystein, Betrothed to Nature. Det Norske Samlaget. Oslo, 2010, 103, 100, 187.