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Andreas Mogensen

The Astronaut Portrait

05/05 2024 - 16/09 2024

Spectacular, Experimental, and Painted on Glass. New Portrait of Andreas Mogensen.

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Denmark’s beloved astronaut, Andreas Mogensen – space traveler, commander, and resident on the International Space Station (ISS) for nearly 200 days – has been portrayed for the National Portrait Gallery at Frederiksborg ∙ Museum of National History during his time in space. The portrait was created by Danish artist Maria Wandel and was unveiled at Frederiksborg on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Weightlessly Floating in Space

Denmark’s first astronaut portrait is painted on glass and depicts Andreas Mogensen – perhaps – carrying the secrets of the universe. Artist Maria Wandel has broken all the traditions of painted astronaut portraits: Gone is the classic American astronaut portrait, where the astronaut is depicted post-return in full space suit, broadly smiling with the helmet in their lap. Wandel has created an experimental and spectacular astronaut portrait of Andreas Mogensen surrounded by an abstract interpretation of the universe.

By using glass as the canvas, Maria Wandel has encapsulated Andreas Mogensen in the space, Cupola, where Mogensen is seen sitting, weightlessly floating, while calmly and gently smiling at the viewer. The glass can be interpreted as the membrane that separates the astronaut from the infinite universe. Beyond the glass lies the universe.

In Wandel’s interpretation, the universe is an abstract, colorful space. In his hands, Andreas Mogensen holds a box with an infinite perspective and a circle of gold leaf. Could this be the secret of the universe? The artist leaves it up to us to imagine what Mogensen is holding.

The astronaut portrait can be experienced in the museum’s section for 20th and 21st-century art. Also, see images from Wandel’s process and hear the artist discuss her work.

Draw Space Rockets and Astronaut Portraits

We all have an image of space and the universe. And most of us have seen pictures of Andreas Mogensen in full astronaut gear or floating weightlessly around the ISS.

In the exhibition, we invite children, and adults if they wish, to sketch their version of an astronaut portrait of Andreas Mogensen. Perhaps he is floating in the Cupola. Maybe he is sitting in the space rocket, or perhaps he is sitting under a starry sky.

Andreas Mogensen Visited Frederiksborg

Andreas Mogensen himself – together with the Minister of Culture, Jakob Engels-Schmidt – unveiled the astronaut portrait. Following the unveiling, an enthusiastic Mogensen was a guest on ‘Talk with Tore Leifer’ in The Great Hall along with Frederiksborg’s head of collections and exhibitions, Mette Houlberg Rung. During the event, Andreas Mogensen discussed practicalities of space life and how many times it becomes “night” on the ISS in a regular day. The answers can be heard on the museum’s podcast. The event was recorded for the podcast PORTRÆT, which you can find here (from Friday, May 10th), or wherever you usually listen to podcasts. Note that the podcast is in Danish.

You can view photos from the portrait unveiling and the event with 250 guests in The Great Hall in the gallery here.

Science Portraits at Frederiksborg

The portrait gallery at Frederiksborg contains a wide range of portraits of Danish scientists who have pushed the boundaries for humanity: Tycho Brahe, Niels Steensen, H.C. Ørsted, P.O. Brøndsted, Niels Bohr, Aage Bohr, Ben Mottelson, Georg Zoëga, and Ole Rømer. All are role models with groundbreaking discoveries that have shifted boundaries for humanity – just as Andreas Mogensen has during his stay on the ISS. We invite you to experience selected portraits of scientists throughout the collection.

For instance, the portrait of H.C. Ørsted can be viewed on the 2nd floor in room 55. Use the Smartify app to scan the artwork and get more information about it, such as the fact that it was painted by Wilhelm Marstrand.

Just before the portrait session began, Andreas Mogensen expressed how being included in the historical portrait collection could affect even an astronaut about to head into space:

“With such great figures having been portrayed before me, I am honored to be selected. It is exciting to have a portrait made while I am in space, and I look forward to seeing the work when I return to Earth after my mission.”

Andreas Mogensen – prior to his stay on the ISS