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Nationalmuseum – National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm

Nationalmuseum

Nationalmuseum – National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm

Nationalmuseum or the National Museum of Fine Arts is the national gallery of Sweden, located in central Stockholm. The museum was founded in 1792 as the “Royal Museum”. The present building was opened in 1866 when it was renamed the Nationalmuseum.

The museum collection consists of about half a million drawings from the Middle Ages to 1900, a 17th-century collection of Rembrandt and other Dutch painters, and a collection of porcelain items, paintings, sculptures, and modern art as well. The museum also has an art library, open to the public and academics.

A Virtual Tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm

Highlights of the National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm

  • “Tor’s Fight with the Giants” by Mårten Eskil Winge
    • “Thor’s Fight with the Giants” by Mårten Eskil Winge depicts the Norse god Thor in a battle against the evil spirits called Jötnar. The thunder god is shown riding his chariot pulled by Thor’s loyal goats. He is wearing his belt of power and swinging his hammer of thunder. Thor is depicted as strong, blond, brave and fearless. The original audience of the 1870s interpreted the painting as a depiction of good battling evil. In Germanic mythology, Thor is the hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, oak trees, the protection of humankind and fertility. This painting was created in 1872 and became popular among contemporary nationalists. Unfortunately, the meaning of the picture has shifted from being a symbol of liberty and enlightenment to become a symbol for xenophobia.
  • “Valdemar Atterdag holding Visby to ransom, 1361” by Carl Gustaf Hellqvist
    • “Valdemar Atterdag holding Visby to ransom, 1361” by Carl Gustaf Hellqvist depicts how the Danish king Valdemar IV collects treasures from the people in the medieval town of Visby in 1361 AD. He threatened to burn the whole city to the ground if the town’s people do not fill the three big beer vats with gold, silver, and other riches. In 1361, Sweden’s largest island, Gotland, was conquered by Valdemar IV of Denmark. 1,800 Gotlanders were killed in battle in front of the city of Visby. Valdemar tore down part of the wall, set up three huge beer barrels, and threatened to turn his men loose to pillage the town unless they were filled with silver and gold. The Visby city fathers fulfilled the demand, with churches stripped of their valuables.
  • “Getting Ready for a Game” by Carl Larsson
    • “Getting Ready for a Game” by Carl Larsson depicts a view of idyllic family life in an idyllic Swedish home. The table is all set, tea on one side, and the tray of drinks on the other. The room is decorated, and the lady is reaching for the monastery liqueur, which she is taking off the shelf. The two young girls are looking at us expectantly. The artist’s description of his painting in the book entitled “Larssons,” which was published in 1902 states: “It’s terrible outdoors. The wind is whistling through the joints of the house, and the snow is not snow but sharp needles that get into the corners of one’s eyes… Just the right time for a game of “vira.”
  • “Odysseus recognizes Achilles amongst the daughters of Lycomedes” by Louis Gauffier
    • Achilles on Skyros is an episode in the myth of Achilles, the Greek hero from the Trojan War. The core myth describes that rather than allow her son Achilles to die at Troy as prophesied, the nymph Thetis sent him to live at the court of Lycomedes, King of Skyros. Achilles was persuaded to disguise himself as a girl at the court of the King of Skyros. Thus he joined the daughters of the King as a lady-in-waiting to evade the prophecy. Achilles then fell in love with one of the princesses and had an affair with Deidamia, one of the daughters of King. Meanwhile, Odysseus and several other Greek leaders were sent to Skyros to find Achilles because they needed his help in their battle in Troy. Odysseus knew the prophecy that the Trojan War could not be won without Achilles. To discover Achilles, Odysseus set a trap for Achilles by offering gifts, adornments and musical instruments as well as weapons, to the King’s daughters and friends. Odysseus then organized for his companions to imitate the noises of an enemy’s attack on the island with the blast of trumpets. Achilles was tricked into revealing himself by quickly picking a weapon to fight back.
  • La Grenouillère by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    • “La Grenouillère” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir depicts the La Grenouillère which was a popular middle-class resort consisting of a spa, a boating establishment, and a floating café. Monet and Renoir both recognized in La Grenouillère an ideal subject for the images of leisure they hoped would sell. La Grenouillère was painting by both Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet at the same time. They depicted the small island planted with a single tree, linked by gangplanks to the Île de la Grenouillère and to the fashionable La Grenouillère floating restaurant and boat-hire at Croissy-Sur-Seine near Bougival.
  • “Amor and Psyche” by Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée
    • “Amor and Psyche” by Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée depicts a French Rococo rendition of this popular story. A peak of interest in Cupid and Psyche occurred in the Paris of the late 1790s and early 1800s, reflected in a proliferation of opera, ballet, art, books, and decorations. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the myth became a vehicle for new fashions. The story of Cupid and Psyche touches on with themes of love, jealousy, disobedience, exile, and redemption. It is also an allegory of Soul’s journey on earth and the union with the divine after death.

National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm

  • Museum:             Nationalmuseum
  • City:                    Stockholm
  • Established:        1792
  • Type:                   National Gallery
  • Address:             Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2, Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish Proverbs and Quotes

Explore European Museums

Map of Nationalmuseum – National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm

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“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
– Swedish Proverb

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Photo Credit: Ad Meskens [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

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