French entomologist Jean Henri Fabre studied a time band when twilight passed, a mystical time in the borderline between the day and night – and called it “Blue Hour,” as the sun during the hours shines in bluish light. This Blue Hour has enchanted great number of artists and gave inspirations for their works.
Peder Severin Krøyer is one of such artists. His love for Blue Hour is manifested in many of his paintings that describe the gentle light during the sunset. Peder’s most well-known work is ‘Summer Evening At Skagen,’ which he painted at the age of 42. Skagen is a tranquil coast village where young group of artists formed a community during the late 19th century – the Skagen Painters- as it is called. Krøyer settled down in the area in 1891, and soon became the leader of the group as he was already known for his works in Paris. The painters emulated impressionist and used to be a model for each other’s work. The two women described in Krøyer’s painting are also other painters - Anna Ancher on the left and Marie, his wife, on the right. Marie was 16 years younger than her husband and studied art abroad but barely left her own work as she was out-talented by her husband. Instead, Marie left her mark in her husband most renowned art work.
The expression of the Blue Hour in the painting is where Krøyer focused his most efforts. The blue sky during sunset and the sea line seem to be merging with each other. The shoreline of Skagen’s feels even more mystical and serene thanks to the delicate light reflected from the white sand and the two women intentionally painted in a smaller size.
While the artist had such an outstanding talent in capturing the perfect and most serene Blue Hour, his life outside the artwork was anything but tranquil. He started to suffer from disease before turning 50, and became violent as he developed mental illness as well. At the end, Marie left him and Krøyer went blind in latter years. Just like the darkness weigh down after twilight, the blue hour of his life was also stayed there just for a passing moment.