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Michael Peter Ancher (9 June 1849–19 September 1927) was a Danish realist artist. He is remembered above all for his paintings of fishermen and other scenes from the Danish fishing community in Skage.
Ancher was born at Rutsker on the island of Bornholm. The son of a local merchant, he attended school in Rønne but was unable to complete his secondary education as his father ran into financial difficulties, forcing him to fend for himself. In 1865, he found work as an apprentice clerk at Kalø Manor near Rønde in eastern Jutland. The following year, he met the painters Theodor Philipsen and Vilhelm Groth who came to the area to paint. Impressed with his early work, they encouraged Ancher to take up painting as a profession. In 1871, he spent a short period at C.V Nielsen's art school as a preliminary to joining the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen later in the year. Although he spent some time at the academy, he left in 1875 without graduating.
...He achieved his artistic breakthrough in 1879 with the painting Vil han klare pynten (Will He Round the Point?). Michael Ancher's works depict Skagen's heroic fishermen and their dramatic experiences at sea, combining realism and with classical composition. Key works include The Lifeboat is Carried Through The Dunes (1883), The Crew Are Saved (1894) and The Drowned Man (1896).
Ancher was influenced by his traditional training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in the 1870s which imposed strict rules for composition. His marriage to Anna Ancher, however, introduced him to the naturalistic concept of undecorated reproduction of reality and its colours. By combining the pictorial composition of his youth with the teachings of naturalism, Ancher created what has been called modern monumental figurative art, such as A Baptism.
Anna and Michael Ancher were featured on the front of the previous series DKK1000 bill.