Peder Mørk Mønsted (Peter Mark Monsted) (1859-12-10 — 1941-06-20) was a Danish realist painter.
Born at the end of the 'golden age' of Danish painting, Monsted can be described as a product of that era. A landscape painter renowned for the clarity of light common to the painters of that age, his naturalistic 'plain air' views made him the leading Danish landscapist of his age.
Monsted was born in Balle near Ganaa in eastern Denmark before moving to Copenhagen. Here he studied at the Academy between 1875 and 1876, under Andries Fritz (1828 1906), a landscape and portrait painter, and was taught figure painting by Julius Exner (1825 1910). Here too he would have come across the work of artists such as Christen Kobke (1810 1848), an outstanding colourist and Pieter Christian Skorgaard (1817 1875), a romantic nationalist painter, a knowledge of whose work is seen in the Danish landscapes and beech forests of Monsted's.
Monsted travailed extensively throughout his long career, being a frequent visitor to Switzerland, Italy and North Africa. As early as 1884, he visited North Africa returning later in the decade. The early years of the twentieth century saw Monsted returning to Switzerland, the south of France and Italy, the latter being the source of inspiration for many Scandinavian artists of the nineteenth century.
The war years curtailed Monsted's travel to Norway and Sweden, however the 1920's and 1930's saw him return to the Mediterranean. Throughout his long career, Monsted continued to paint the Danish landscape and coastline. His is a romantic, poetic view of nature; he was an artist who depicted the grandeur and monumental aspect of the landscape, with a remarkable eye for detail and colour.
Monsted's wide ranging education helped him to assimilate the virtuoso techniques of academic naturalism but he transformed these devices to create a photo – realist artistic style all his own which won him great acclaim and affluence in his own life time. The entry on Monsted in the Weilbach Dansk Kunstnerleksikon eloquently characterises the artist’s achievement: ‘(Monsted's) great success was largely a consequence of his ability to develop a series of schematic types of landscape, which could each individually represent the quintessence of a Scandinavian, Italian, or most frequently Danish landscape. In motifs, built up around still water, trees and forest, he specialised in portraying the sunlight between tree crowns and the network of trunks and branches of the underwood, the reflections on the water of forest and sky and snow-laden winter landscape paintings with sensations of spring, often all together in the same painting. Insofar as Monsted included figures in his paintings, these were principally used as ornaments with a view to emphasising the idyllic character of the motif; and only rarely were the figures and the anecdotal element given as prominent a role as in traditional genre paintings.’