chapter  9
16 Pages

Reviving the Tradition of the Battle Painting

The Militarization of Danish Culture
BySolveig Gade

Invoking historian Eric Hobsbawm's influential concept, the newly initiated practices can be viewed as invented traditions. That is, formalized, ritualized, and symbolic practices which respond to novel situations and seek to inculcate certain value systems and conventions of behavior, either by referring to past traditions or by establishing their own traditions. This chapter suggests that alongside honoring the figure of the soldier, the newly invented traditions can be perceived of as militarizing processes intended to reinforce Denmark's renewed identity and also self-identification as a "war-fighting nation". Returning to the specific instance of 19th-century Denmark, the genre of the battle painting did not enjoy nearly the same status as elsewhere in Europe until the war of 1848. In 2013 and 2014, the battle paintings described above were officially unveiled at three different ceremonies at the Museum of National History.