After his studies at the academy in Copenhagen, Peder Severin Krøyer visited Paris multiple times and even managed to have some of his works included in the Salon – to much acclaim. In 1882 he met the Skagen painters Anna and Michael Ancher as well as Viggo Johansen. Persuaded by their enthusiastic accounts, Krøyer decided to travel to Skagen. Following a first stay in 1882, he spent every summer in this remote and unspoiled region of Denmark. With the arrival of Krøyer, an internationally minded spirit found its way into the artists’ colony which attracted increasing public attention.
While his fellow Skagen artists usually focused on the arduous lives of the fishermen and their families, Krøyer also created numerous appealing compositions which presented the beach as a place of recreation. This painting, for instance, shows three naked young boys bathing in the tranquil, moonlit sea. One of the boys is already done bathing – he is sitting by the water’s edge and drying himself. A second boy is just wading back to the shore, his face radiant with joy. In the background, a third lad is standing, rapt, as two sailing ships lie at anchor on the horizon. The rising moon bathes the peaceful scene in mellow moonlight – no wave, no approaching cloud dampens the activity on the evening beach. The depiction of leisure time on the beach became very popular in art around 1900 – Max Liebermann, whose painting Boys Bathing is included in this exhibition, too, also took up the subject.