Johan Thomas Lundbye (Kalundborg 1818 – Helsingør 1848) was a Danish painter, educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen in the early 1830s. He became a close friend of painter P.C. Skovgaard, with whom he collaborated on several collective painting commissions, many with a national or Scandinavian cultural political purpose. Lundbye was deeply engaged in the national course in Denmark, and explicitly saw his purpose as a painter to depict the beauty of his “dear Denmark”.
In his motifs, he implemented some of the thoughts and recommendations put forward by the leading art historian and art critic of the time, N.L. Høyen, whose lectures inspired a generation of painters on how to depict the true spirit of the nation. Lundbye’s way of serving the nation consisted of a transformation of the Danish coastline and cliffs into a more symbolic national landscape; although his landscape paintings appear naturalistic, they were present Danish nature and monuments charged with greater significance and in magnified form (e.g. A Danish Coast, 1843). The names of his paintings also tend to spell out the Danish-national thematics. Lundbye volunteered to serve in the Schleswig-Holstein war (1848-51), but he died in Schleswig in an accident before seeing action.