Arms of Ronny Andersen
Most artists don’t reach any level of fame until their later years in life and career. Even more become famous after death. This trend holds true in the world of heraldry and heraldic art as well.
Therefore, it is a rare event when an artist develops the artistic maturity and the recognition of the heraldic art world well before his 30th birthday. Such an artist is Ronny Andersen.
Arms of Trolle
A native born Dane, Andersen has a very interesting background having received a BA in History in 2003 and will be receiving his MA in the same field later this year (2009). He did not receive any formal training and never was an apprentice to another artist.
To Andersen, it was all “learn by doing”. He studied on his own the established Masters of heraldic art and tried to learn from their example. His immersion into the field allowed him to learn about art and heraldry, whether it was good or bad. Learning what the essence of heraldic art is a life-long pursuit, as Andersen says.
Along the way, he started to find his influences and inspirations. As one can tell by looking at his art, he has a more Nordic feel and has looked to northern European sources such as Aage Wulff, Franz Sedivy, Johannes & Friedrich Britze, Gustaf von Numers, Sven Sköld, Bengt Olof Kälde and Jan Raneke among others. Though Andersen is quick to point out that English and Scottish heraldry is also a very important piece of his artistic mosaic.
Arms of Vind
On the other hand, Andersen has not been attracted by the heraldic influences of his eastern and southern European counterparts. The traditions in those regions, however fascinating they may be, have not called to him artistically. He does make an exception for the outstanding work of the Italian Marco Foppoli.
Though Andersen started doing heraldic art as a hobby before the turn of the 21st century, he didn’t start professionally until about 2003. In 2005, he starts his business Ars Heraldica and that same year becomes the Royal Arms painter for the Royal family of Denmark, dedicated to the Royal Orders of the country. Specifically, he is responsible for the emblazonment of the arms of the Knights of the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog.
He prefers to work primarily with gouache on high quality paper but, never misses an opportunity to work on premium vellum either. An artist with discerning tastes and expectations, always seeks the best in his art. Even when it comes to working with wood or metal, he enjoys the challenge and the chance to work with his favorite gold and aluminum leaf.
In 2003, Andersen was commissioned to create the arms (seen above) for the Faroe Islands when they opened a representation office in Copenhagen. These same arms where later adopted by the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands as the official arms of the nation on April 1, 2004.
In 2005, Andersen was tapped to design the arms of all the noble families of Denmark for the nobility yearbook. Those designs are displayed throughout this post showcasing Andersen’s amazing work covering more than 200 families.
In 2006, Andersen created the arms above for HRH Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark. An especially interesting commission as Mary is the wife of HRH Frederik, the Crown Prince of Denmark and heir to the throne.
The most recent and arguably the most exciting commission of his was when he painted the arms of Nelson Mandela as a Knight of the Order of the Elephant. Although Mandela was created a Knight of the Order in 1996, Andersen created the arms seen above very recently.
But, in what does Andersen take the most pride in? It is those corporate arms he has created for local communes that are being used constantly in all official (and not so official) capacities and becomes part of that community’s culture and heritage. Naturally, the work he has done and continues to do for the Royal Orders of Denmark are especially prestigious and a source of pride. Though, however much he enjoys those creations and the joy of completing a major work, his biggest source of satisfaction is the reaction of a client when they first see the completed emblazonment of their arms.
Arms of Knuth-Winterfeldt
Ronny Andersen’s website in Danish and English with an extensive gallery of images is located at: http://www.arsheraldica.dk