Tuesday, 4 May 2010

New books: The artist Margrethe II

The art book Dronning Margrethe II – Et livsværk, edited by Anne-Mette Villumsen and Iben Overgaard, has been written to accompany the eponymous exhibition at the Skovgaard Museum in Viborg, marking the 70th birthday of Queen Margrethe II.
Queen Margrethe has had almost parallel careers as monarch and artist and this book looks back at the latter. Beginning with an interview with the artist, the book goes on with chapters where different authors look at various aspects of her work. Torben Weirup writes about her landscapes, Birgit Jenvold looks on the historic links between the monarchy and the arts, Karsten Nissen tells about the bishop’s mantle the Queen has designed for Viborg Cathedral, Ole Nørlyng writes about her scenography while Anne-Mette Villumsen explores her decoupages. The latter half of the book is given over to reproductions and a catalogue of the works exhibited.
The book’s format puts certain limits on how deep the authors can delve into their topic and, as in all anthologies, some succeed better than others. Anne-Mette Villumsen’s chapter on the decoupages is perhaps the best contribution to this book, while Ove Nørlyng in his chapter comes across as a little too uncritical about the Queen’s work, thus doing her a disfavour by not really treating her as a serious artist with weaknesses as well as strengths.

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