Hans Gude was one of Norway's foremost and most important painters in the 19th century. Gude trained as a landscape painter in Düsseldorf and had his career as a painter and academy professor in the German cities of Düsseldorf, Karlsruhe, and Berlin.
Gude took many of his landscape motifs from Norway, and with magnificent depictions of Norwegian nature, he became one of the most significant national romantic artists. Together with Adolph Tidemand, he completed in 1848 Brudeferd in Hardanger, a painting that has remained as a national romantic masterpiece in Norwegian painting.
During the 1860s, there was an interest in the production of water and the reflection of water. There is a stronger realism in his pictures from this time, and marine painting became dominant in God's landscape art with many pictures from, for example, the Oslo Fjord and the coast of Rügen.
Hans Gude was the son of judge Ove Christian Gude and Marie Elisabeth Brandt. Gude showed an early interest in drawing and in 1837, only 12 years old, became a private student of the landscape painter Johannes Flintoe. The same year he was admitted as a student at Tegneskolen, where Flintoe was a teacher. Two years later, he traveled for the first time over the mountains to Bergen Diocese, and Gude tells in his autobiography how the experience of the snow-capped mountains made a strong impression on him. In the autumn of 1841, he traveled to Düsseldorf to study painting at the Art Academy in the city.
Gude is known for his joint work with Adolph Tidemand, the most famous of which is Brudeferd in Hardanger (a motif made in several versions). The first version was painted in Düsseldorf in the winter of 1847–1848 and was purchased for the Christiania Kunstforening and exhibited there in the summer of 1848. The picture has remained the epitome of national romanticism in Norway with Tidemand's depictions of a costumed bridal party in two boats, where God's sunny and dramatic Hardanger nature forms the background for the bridal party. The picture shows how specialized the education in painting was at this time; some painters (like Tidemand) specialized in depictions of folklife, while others (like Gude) were pure landscape painters.