Johan Julius Exner, (November 30, 1825-November 15, 1910), Danish genre painter, was born in Copenhagen to Johann Gottlieb Exner, a Czech musician from Bohemia, who came to Denmark during the Napoleonic period, and his wife Karen Jørgensdatter. Exner originally intended on becoming a history painter, but quickly found his niche, however, in genre painting, the most popular and lucrative painting style of his era. His genre paintings figured prominently in Denmark’s National Romantic period, an artistic period directly after the Golden Age of Danish Painting, when artistic focus was turned inwards to uniquely Danish themes.
The younger Exner was interested in drawing and painting from an early age and was put in private training after his confirmation. He began to study at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi) April 1839, where he intended on becoming a history painter. He caught the attention of Professor J. L. Lund, from whom he learned history painting. He studied later on with Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, closely linked to the Golden Age of Danish Painting and commonly referred to as the Father of Danish Painting.