Thursday, 30 May 2013

My latest article: The myths about the union

As part of the jubilee exhibitions based on the Royal Collections which are the government’s present to the King and Queen for their 75th birthdays last year, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Tromsø is currently showing the art collection which was presented by the Norwegian people to their King and Queen, Oscar II and Sophie, on the occasion of their silver wedding in 1882, and today I write in the newspaper Nordlys about how this exhibition disproves some of the common myths about the union between Norway and Sweden.
Many seem to believe that Norway only became independent in 1905 and that the Norwegian monarchy was invented that year, while the so-called “Swedish kings” hardly set foot in Norway. In fact the union was a very loose personal union between two independent countries, and the high quality of the artworks shown in the exhibition reminds us that the age of the union was a golden age for Norwegian art. That the majority of the artworks show Norwegian landscapes and coastal motifs reflects the fact that King Oscar II travelled more widely in Norway than any monarch since Christian IV. (Unfortunately a typo means that the article says that Oscar II was the first king to set foot in Norway since Christian IV in 1599, but that should obviously be in *Northern* Norway).
The exhibition, which was opened by the Minister of Culture, Hadia Tajik, in the presence of the Queen on 4 February, lasts until 1 September. On the coming Monday the King and Queen will attend the opening of the last of the six jubilee exhibitions, which will be shown in Trondheim until 29 September.
From today there is also another royal-related exhibition in Trondheim, where the stained glass windows presented by King Oscar II to Nidaros Cathedral to commemorate his and Queen Sophie’s coronation in 1873 (which were later removed during the restoration of the Cathedral) will be shown in the Archbishop’s Palace.

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