The Woman with the Sparrows
Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1886
The frail old woman leans on a crutch as she feeds small birds who cluster around her in complete trust. Her weathered hands, sunken mouth, slight smile, and worn clothes reveal Bloch’s tender respect for a poor old soul who shares her meager crumbs of bread.
According to art critic Sigurd Müller, Bloch belonged to that small group of people “to whom nothing human was foreign because nothing was unimportant to him. The great as well as the small, the elevated as well as the ridiculous, towards everything he has an open eye and an open heart; he grasps all of it in sympathetic understanding.” (Excerpt taken from The Master’s Hand: The Art of Carl Heinrich Bloch)
More About Bloch
Carl Bloch was an academic Danish painter who is best known for his paintings depicting the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
He received his artistic training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Later, while living in Rome for several years, Bloch studied paintings by the great Italian masters.
When he returned to Copenhagen, Bloch quickly established a reputation as a religious painter. This led to major commissions for paintings in churches and chapels of Denmark and Sweden.
His extensive body of work includes over 250 paintings and 78 etchings. Still, Bloch considered his religious works to be his most valuable contributions. His productive career ended early when he died of cancer at the age of only fifty-five.