Study Guide

The Danish Girl Art and Culture

By David Ebershoff

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Art and Culture

A famous scholar (i.e. Lisa from Saved by the Bell) once asked, "What is art? Are we art? Is art art?" These are all good questions that apply to The Danish Girl. Both its main characters are artists, painters to be precise, but they create different kinds of art: One paints landscapes, while the other paints portraits. What makes their art be considered art? And is Einar, when he transforms into Lili, a work of art herself? That's what good art does: raises questions. Now over to you for the answers, Shmoopers.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Compare and contrast Einar and Greta's art styles. How does each artist's style change during the course of the novel?
  2. Greta goes from being not very successful to a sensation. What changes? What is it about her art that brings her fame?
  3. How does art influence the lives of others characters, like Hans and Henrik?

Chew on This

Greta and Einar are slightly competitive as husband and wife, but when Einar becomes Lili, and Lili becomes Greta's muse, they work together as an artistic team.

An artist is only as good as her subject. Greta's paintings of Lili are beautiful and mysterious because Lili herself is beautiful and mysterious.

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