The Einar Jonsson Museum and Sculpture Garden is dedicated to the artist who has been called Iceland's first sculptor. It is located near Hallgrims Church, which dominates the skyline of Reykjavik.
Einar Jonsson was born in Iceland in 1874. After studying in Reykjavik for two years, he sailed to continental Europe in 1893 to continue his studies, eventually studying at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen. He then traveled through Europe exhibiting his works and finding some success as a sculptor.
In 1909, he offered to give all of his works to the people of Iceland on the condition that a museum be built to exhibit the works. The Icelandic parliament mulled over the proposal for a few years, finally agreeing in 1914. It authorized 10,000 crownes for the project. A further 20,000 crownes was raised from the general public.
Construction of the museum began in 1916. Although he was not the official architect, the building was very much Jonsson's creation. It is sometimes referred to as his largest sculpture.
The museum opened to the public in 1923. In addition to housing the museum, the building was to be Jonsson's studio and his home until his death in 1954.
Jonsson produced a large volume of work. Most of his sculptures were made with plaster. Many were then cast in bronze for public display.
Early in his career, Jonsson rejected traditional classical sculpture, which he believed burdened artists. Rather, he believed that artists should express their own originality and creativity by following their own path rather than by following tradition. The path he choose was somewhat mystical, incorporating Nordic legends and folklore as well as Christian ideas in symbolic figurative works.
The museum holds some 300 of his works. Outside in the sculpture garden are 26 bronze casts of his sculptures.
For more information about visiting, see the Einar Jonsson Museum's website.
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Places to see art - - Reykjavik - Iceland - - Sigurjon Olafsson Museum