Carl Bloch
Answer to Name This Famous Person Game - December 2015
by Mike McLeod

Carl Bloch was only 55 years old when he passed away from cancer on Feb. 22, 1890. Even so, he left a body of work—rather, of masterpieces—that has made him known throughout the world. Of all the Danish painters, he is probably the most recognized. After seeing any of his historical portrait paintings, can anyone forget the eyes of his subjects, particularly those of Jesus Christ?

Carl Heinrich Block was born on May 23, 1834, and although he lived and died in Copenhagen, Denmark, he traveled to Rome, Italy, during his lifetime to study painting. While in the Netherlands on his way to Rome, Bloch marveled at the work of Rembrandt van Rijn. Art historians and critics credit Rembrandt with greatly influencing Bloch’s artistic style of realistic and moving portrayals of people high and low.1

Bloch himself also gave credit elsewhere:

“God helps me—that's what I think—and then I am calm.”2

In Rome for about seven years, Bloch painted The Liberation of Prometheus, his first masterpiece. This painting depicts Zeus’ son Heracles freeing Prometheus from being chained to a rock by his father, the king of the gods. This punishment was inflicted on Prometheus for stealing fire from Mount Olympus and giving it to mankind to relieve suffering. For this act, Zeus chained him to a rock and had an eagle peck out his liver each day.3

Also in Rome, Bloch met and married Alma Trepka, and together they had eight children. Alma passed away after 18 years of happy marriage with Carl.

In 1865, Carl Bloch’s talent led his being given the opportunity to create 23 paintings depicting the life of Jesus Christ for the King’s Praying Chamber in the Frederiksborg Castle,4 north of Copenhagen, which houses the Danish Museum of National History. This feat required nearly a decade and a half of work, but when it was completed, Carl Bloch had assured himself a place among the greatest artists in history.

Bloch was admitted into the Royal Danish Academy of Art, and he also served as a professor there and as vice director. At his passing at age 55, he left 250 paintings and 75 etchings.5

Carl Bloch

Woman at the Well by Carl Bloch. (Photo: PD-US.)

In truth, his masterpieces sing his praises better than any writer could hope to do, and they tell of his true talent and faith.

Ted Carlton of Utah correctly identified Carl Bloch.


1 Brigham Young University, “BYU Magazine,”, “The Master’s Hand,” by Nathan N. Waite, Winter 2011 Issue.
2, “Carl Bloch > Quotes.”
3 Ancient History Encyclopedia,, “Prometheus,” by Mark Cartwright April 20, 2013.
4 Rob Gibbs, Harmony of the Gospels with the Artwork of Carl Bloch, “About Carl Bloch.”
5 Waite, “The Master’s Hand.”

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