All posts by Culture Nordic

How these Greenland designers have put themselves on the international fashion scene

Greenland may be the world’s largest island, but it’s fashion scene certainly isn’t. It is very difficult for artists and designers from the Danish territory to find recognition. The location is physically isolating for artists, however, this group of Greenland fashion designers travelled to Toronto to show off their designs. We learned that the group of eight Inuit artists hailing from Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, were featured presenters at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) where people come together to share culturally inspired garments, jewellery and accessories.

“We have a great passion to promote Greenland, we want people to buy our work, take it into their living rooms and show it off,” said Hildebjørg Egilsdottir, who makes and sells clothing and small crafts from her shop Nuna Glacier, located in Nuuk. “We want to tell people our story.” She hopes to find Canadian buyers who can take her work to a wider audience.

Fashion designer Louise Lynge Berthelsen started her own label, Nuuk Couture, in 2010, which has customers in Greenland, Denmark, as well as Canada. Many of her designer dresses are inspired by traditional Inuit garments, hand-sewn and incorporating leather pieces.

Berthelsen’s most popular garments, evening dresses which highlight “feminine curves” are intended for celebratory moments,” she said. \Berthelsen runs her own clothing boutique in Nuuk geared toward tourists who’ve travelled to Greenland to see the northern lights and other wintry sights. Inspired by traditional Greenlandic and Inuit heritage, she said she was hoping to draw buyers smitten by the vibrancy of her designs.

“I’m not copying my culture, I’m inspired by it,” said Berthelsen. We find their story inspiring too!

Read more here

LEGO House and Bicycle Snake Honoured in 2018 Danish Design Awards

Who doesn’t love LEGO?! We’ve just been reading about Bjarke Ingels Group’s LEGO House – the house and the ‘Bicycle Snake’ have been recognised by the 2018 Danish Design Awards, an initiative which “highlights the impact and value of design, celebrates companies and designers across the country and showcases the difference their solutions make to industry, everyday life, and society at large.”

The LEGO House was victorious in the “Feel Good” category, while the Bicycle Snake was awarded the “Icon Award.” BIG’s LEGO House, completed in 2017 in Billund, Denmark, brought the toy scale of the classic LEGO brick to a human scale with exhibition spaces and public squares. The 130,000-square-foot (12,000-square-meter) scheme was praised by the jury as “a unique integration of play and learning, [designed] with an intuitive approach that successfully conveys the philosophy driving the company and the brand.”

DISSING + WEITLING’s Bicycle Snake is situated around the Fisketorvet shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, designed to address safety and circulation issues between cyclists and pedestrians. The ramp and bridge chart a winding 600-foot (200-meter) course through the harbor area, balancing visual excellence with vital functionality. The jury described the scheme as an “elegant and empathic solution [letting] cyclists cross the harbor in a safe and dignified manner, underlining the city’s profile as a sustainable metropolis with a pedal-powered profile.”

The Lego House, a mind-blowing mecca for fans of the iconic construction toy, designed by BIG, the firm led by young Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. For his first foray into bricks, Ingels couldn’t have landed a better commission – even if these are not actually bricks at all, but ceramic tiles clipped on to a steel frame. Rarely have architect and client been so well matched, given Ingels’ trademark brand of cartoonish quips, and his penchant for blocky forms. His buildings sometimes feel a little flat, more sheen than depth, but for a temple to Lego that couldn’t be more appropriate. The project is a triumph.

You can read more here

The Simpsons Conquer Denmark as only they can! Doh!

Are you a fan of the Simpsons?! Well they have made it to Denmark! The long-running American TV series sent Homer and his fabulously dysfunctional brood to Denmark. 

The writers must have either been here or done a lot of research, because most of the jokes and local references were spot on. The visuals and animation also did a great job capturing the feel of Denmark, something that has been seriously botched by other films professing to be about the country in the past. ‘The Prince and Me’, anyone?

The episode revolves around Grampa Simpson needing a mysterious and apparently expensive medical treatment, so after Homer receives a generous payout for flood damage to the Simpson home in Springfield, the family heads to Denmark for some of that world-renowned cheap health care.

Upon arriving, everyone – well, everyone except for Homer, of course – falls in love with all things Danish. Bart loves the boobs on the billboards and buses, while Lisa is enamoured of the country’s art, culture and dedication to wind energy. And finally being in a “celsius country”. Marge loves the cleanliness, efficiency and politeness of the Danes and the fact that they are all so attractive.

This clip is from the episode entitled ‘The Simpsons Conquer Denmark’ and here they tour their uber-efficient apartment. Must watch!

 

New revelation at the excavation in Odense – It’s wildly exciting

This is fascinating: the archaeologists have been excavating Lotze’s old pharmacy garden. Underground may be revealing a much bigger surprise than expected. It will tell what was on the spot before Lotzes Garden was built in the 19th century. The question archaeologists are looking to answer is whether it is in fact a continuation of the medieval hospital garden from the Holy Spirit Hospital.

Spades, shovels and brushes are in Gustav Lotze’s old pharmacy garden. Archaeologists from Odense City’s Museums are in full swing with the excavation of the garden at the Hans Christian Andersen House in central Odense, and under the more than 200 years old land, secrets secrecy archeologist. “If there are medicinal plants, it’s so wild,” says museum inspector Jakob Tue Christensen.

The remains of a well in the garden have attracted the attention of archaeologists. It can reveal that the garden may be even older than the archaeologists have so far believed.

– From the well we can gather information about, among other things, the plants that greet you here. It might bring Lotze’s drugstore back to the Middle Ages, “explains Jakob Tue Christensen.

The mould in the old garden has already revealed several things about Gustav Lotze. Among other things, he completely controlled which plants grew behind the pharmacy.

“He has been a systematic man with words in the things. He has had plant sticks that have stood at the different plants. In some of them, we can still read what plants he has been standing in his greenhouse, says the museum inspector.  The excavation of Lotze’s Garden is the first step in the creation of a new HC Andersen Museum to be completed by 2020.

 

The largest children’s art project in Denmark launched this month and started by HKH Princess Marie

Princess Marie attended the launch of GeoPark’s Children Art Project, the biggest children’s art project in Denmark. The princess is the protector of the UNESCO National Commission, which is responsible for the Geokids artproject. The project has been an educational offer for students of popular schools in Odsherred, and in relation to the project, students have been introduced into the landscape and the cultural history of the area. Here you can see the children have been learning about the landscape of the Ice Age and digging for clay.

Prior to the actual sculpture project, all students have undergone a Geokids course where they are have been introduced to concepts such as ice age, work on nature, food, cultural history and Odsherred painters.  By allowing students to make their masks, Geokids has contributed to identity creation through learning. Today, all Odsherred students are familiar with what the geopark is and how it works out.

Together with the artists Martin Nybo and Henrik Boe, the students have created masks of the clay from the park, all gathered for a joint work of art. Behind each mask is a QR code. When you scan the code, you can see a small movie with the child who made the mask. During the visit, Princess Marie participated designed a mask herself with the help of Martin Nybo but it will not be included in the exhibition.

After the official launch of the children’s project, Princess Marie participated in a walk on Højderygstien from Veddinge Bakker to Esterhøj in Høve with the oldest children. She was joined by GeoPark’s geologist Jacob Walloe Hansen told her about the landscape.

Princess Marie attended the launch in her role of Patron of the Danish UNESCO National Commission. She was elected Patron by the General Council in October 2009 and has taken part in a lot of initiatives to promote Denmark’s landscape and culture since then, such as becoming Patron of the Waddensea Festival.

Highly Symbolic And Kind of Outlandish Viking Wedding Traditions And Rituals

In the spirit of the Royal Wedding, we thought we’d investigate the rituals behind Viking weddings. Sounds a bit like what Megan and Harry must have had to go through to arrive at the alter tomorrow!

Viking wedding traditions were complex. Marriage was the heart of family structure in Viking culture, hence the intricate nature of Viking wedding rituals. Planning a wedding was so time consuming it begs the question, how do Vikings get married? Like, who had that much time on their hands? Each tradition and ritual was deemed necessary to earn the blessings of the gods, an important step on the path to becoming a parent, and continuing the Viking bloodline.

Even when Vikings married for love, the process was carefully considered. For Vikings, marriage wasn’t just a union of the couple, but of families. Because of this, the wedding was a long process. Unions had long-lasting legal implications in Norse culture, affecting everything from familiar property holdings to inheritance. Therefore, numerous negotiations were carried out before the terms of a marriage were formally agreed upon.

At the start of marriage negotiations, the groom’s family, along with legal delegates got together to determine the bride’s dowry, the groom’s financial assets, set the date of the wedding, and negotiate the wedding gift from the groom’s parents. They groom’s family, counsel, and any important local figures to whom they had connections brought proposals to the bride’s family, promising to support and assist them, while agreeing upon mutually beneficial terms for the marriage.

Setting the date for a Viking wedding was its own little process. Traditionally, weddings were held on Friday, which in Norse religion is a scared day for  Frigga, the goddess of marriage. Weddings typically lasted a week, and family and friends traveled to the site of the wedding. Winter weddings were impossible because snow rendered travel impractical. Other considerations included appropriate accommodations, acquiring enough food and drink for all guests for the duration of the ceremony, and brewing a special ale drunk by the bride and groom as part of the ceremony.

All these considerations sometimes put a very long time table on a wedding. While most ceremonies took place within a year from when all negotiations were settled, in her book Women in Old Norse Society, Jenny Jochens writes of three-year waiting periods for Vikings in Iceland.

We wonder what it would be like if we followed some of the Viking wedding rituals today?!

You can browse all of our Viking gifts here.

Will Hygge be protected on the Unesco list of “intangible cultural heritage”?

We’ve just learned that Denmark has applied for the art of hygge to be inscribed on the Unesco list of “intangible cultural heritage”. The idea is to protect it for generations as an essential and historic part of global society.

There has been a great wave in wellness in general, but hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, hit its stride in 2015. It embodies the Danes’ ability to appear constantly relaxed and refreshed, and spawning a fury of associated home and decor comforts.

According to the article in The Telegraph, last year, hygge, which is credited as the reason Denmark is regularly polled as one of the happiest nations on the planet, was shortlisted as the Oxford English Dictionary’s most influential word of 2016, losing out, perhaps tellingly, to post-truth. The word – and its way of life – was seen as “a pleasant antidote to the high-profile political debates and celebrity deaths” of the year, teaching instead a “quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being – regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture”. Now, Denmark is asking the guardians of the world’s cultural heritage to add hygge to a list that includes the likes of the Mediterranean diet, traditional wine-making in Georgia, and coffee culture in Turkey. “With increasing societal pressures and the growing importance of wellbeing, hygge’s emphasis on togetherness and equality can have real and tangible benefits, not only to the Danish people but to anyone that practises this uniquely Danish social ritual,” said Meik Wiking, founder and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, which is supporting the bid.

We agree that it is the intangible cultural heritage that adds to your life that is so important. We discover this from our past, but hygge is distinctly Danish and important to protect. Here’s our own curated Hygge collection.

Teen unearths treasure linked to Danish King Bluetooth

Don’t ignore a shiny object! If you do you’d have missed this treasure! We’ve just been reading a fascinating story about a 1,000-year-old hoard of silver treasure linked to the legendary King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark. It was uncovered earlier this year by a 13-year-old student named Luca Malaschnichenko was scouring a field on Rügen, a German island in the Baltic Sea, when he came across what he thought to be a worthless scrap of aluminum. Upon closer examination by his teacher, amateur archaeologist René Schön, they were shocked to discover that it was actually an ancient silver coin.

The article in MNN goes on to recount the story. Thinking that they had stumbled onto a site of particular significance, the pair quickly contacted the State Office for Culture and Heritage. After an agonising three months of waiting and careful planning in secrecy, a team assisted by the 13-year-old finally assembled last weekend to begin gently uncovering the earth surrounding the site. They quickly made some remarkable discoveries, including braided necklaces, pearls, brooches, a Thor’s hammer (a powerful weapon in Norse mythology belonging to Thor, god of thunder), rings and up to 600 chipped coins, including more than 100 that date back to Bluetooth’s era.

“This trove is the biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic Sea region and is therefore of great significance,” the lead archaeologist, Michael Schirren, told the German news outlet DPA, according to AFP.

You can read the full article here 

Bodil Kjær, a grande dame of Danish design on longevity and relaunching Furniture pieces

Food and wine do the trick! We knew it! Here’s the proof we learn from Danish architect and designer Bodil Kjær. She’s got the secret to great design AND longevity! It’s down to good food, moderate amounts of very good wine, little medication and an almost obstinate sense of positivity! That’s what has done it for her she says! And in her words.. “I’ve also always known my own mind,” she says, “and I’ve never kissed ass.”

The 86-year-old Danish architect and designer now, more than a half-century later is having many of these designs put back into production, ready to be introduced this spring to a new generation of modernist-minded consumers. Kjær, meanwhile, finds herself out of retirement and firmly back at work. “It’s been a very busy two years,” she says. “And I haven’t had a proper office since the late 1980s, so, well, here we are.”

Well into her ninth decade, Kjær finds herself in the midst of an unforeseen renaissance. Though she spent the majority of her professional life working in interior architecture, office and urban planning, and education, Kjær is perhaps most publicly known for her furniture series Elements of Architecture. These pieces—which included diverse seating, low tables, a daybed, lighting, tabletop accessories and a desk—were developed over eight years, early in Kjær’s career, starting in 1955, when she was just 23.

In 1951, Kjær began her formal education in Copenhagen at the School of Interior Design (today the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design), where she was tutored by the great modernist master Finn Juhl, among others. “One of my reasons for doing what I’ve done is that I don’t think it’s fair to present people with very beautiful objects that can be quite demeaning if you yourself are perhaps not so beautiful: too big, too fat, too small, too slim. I’ve always tried to make furniture that supports people rather than intimidates them.”

You can read more in the article by The Wall Street Journal

Grand Opening of ‘The Nordic Museum’ in Seattle promises to dazzle

After a decade of planning one of Seattle’s most beloved cultural institutions will reopen in a new location. Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum, was long housed in a brick schoolhouse on loan from Seattle Schools. It began the effort to locate, finance and construct a permanent home for the city’s—and nation’s—only museum that celebrates all the Nordic cultures (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).

It promises to be an amazing facility complete in understated Scandinavian style. The brand-new 57,000-square-foot, Mithun-designed facility has been rebranded as The Nordic Museum. It officially opens the doors to its new home, about a mile south of its former location, in May 2018.

A showpiece for forward-thinking Nordic design (according to Architectural Digest and the New York Times, it’s one of the most anticipated international museums opening this year), the ground-level corridor resembles a fjord; overhead, second-story walkways act as bridges, stitching together a core collection of permanent, historical exhibits, with temporary installations that explore contemporary Nordic culture.

The Nordic regard for purposeful, multi-use spaces is on view everywhere, from new classrooms, a craft studio and a state-of-the-art auditorium to the practical, quiet and efficient Kone elevators, made by a Finnish company. Grand opening 5/5–5/6.

For more information visit: Nordic Museum, Ballard, 2655 NW Market St.

The world-renowned Ordrupgaard collection is going to Canada!

This will be Canada’s first and only showing of paintings from the wonderful Ordrupgaard collection of Impressionist and Danish art. It opens at the National Gallery of Canada on 18th May 2018.

At the exhibition, called Impressionist Treasures, you will see paintings by Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Morisot, and Renoir among others. The National Gallery of Canada will also feature well-known masterpieces from the Golden Age of Danish painting. This superlative selection of works from the Ordrupgaard collection in Denmark is just one of 12 special exhibitions of silversmithing, paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, installations, and Augmented Reality experiences opening at the National Gallery of Canada this year.

Impressionist Treasures features key paintings assembled by Wilhelm and Henny Hansen in the early 20th century. The collection is regarded today as one of Europe’s most beautiful compilations of Impressionist art. The exhibition of 76 paintings, which runs until 9th September 2018 in the Special Exhibitions Galleries, will surprise, as much as delight, as you discover new master works painted by old favourites. To find out more visit the National Gallery of Canada’s site.

We also have a number of prints from the Ordrupgaard Collection available on our website. While you may not be in Canada for the exhibition, you can always visit our site to buy your very own print.

 

Denmark’s Aquaporin hosts art exhibitions in collaboration with Diakron

Here’s an interesting new combination of art and science for you!

You need to book an appointment to see this exhibit. It is at Denmark’s Aquaporin, a water technology purification company. True lots of companies have art collections but according to The New York Times article by Ginanne Brownell, this one is unique. Aquaporin has been working with the Danish artistic, curatorial and research collective Diakron to host a show called Primer, an exhibition space that is within its open-plan factory, laboratory and offices.

It looks like you can kill two birds with one stone if you have a dual interest in science and art. You need to book to see the current free exhibit which is called “Life Without,” by artist Michala Paludan and it is on view until June 3. On your visit you will see scientists conducting research, receptionists signing for deliveries and employees holding meetings on the factory floor plus the exhibition.

Peter Holme Jensen, the chief executive and a co-founder of Aquaporin, says the following about opening up their doors for an exhibition:

“We are a very small start-up and we do not have a lot of money to go out and buy, so maybe that was our luck,” he said, adding that the Copenhagen-based art consultant Christina Wilson linked him up with Diakron. “We had no idea what would come out of it other than making daily life a little more fun, and instead of listening to our footsteps we could talk to artists and look at what we do from a different angle.”

Bjarke Hvass Kure, an artist and a member of Diakron, said that so far, the experience had been intriguing for visitors, artists and employees. “We are trying to do something long term,” he said. “It is very important that we are not coming here and doing one thing and leaving again.”

You can read more in the New York Times article

Royal Danish Theatre dances through the SMK

Don’t miss it! Experience art and the ball melt together when the SMK invites small ballet performances in collaboration with The Royal Danish Theatre.

In the spring, a group of ballet dancers from the Royal Danish Theatre will take on SMK. In the middle of the art they will dance a series of new ballet performances, inspired by the museum’s artworks and selected periods in art history.

The Royal Danish Ballet is the world’s third oldest ballet company. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, it originates from 1748, and in 1771 the company established the Royal Danish Ballet School which is, as well, among the oldest of its kind.

On Wednesday 28 February, the dancers Benjamin Buza and Ida Praetorious will take part in Danish and Nordic art 1750-1900, where they interpret Joakim Skovgaard’s Christ in the kingdom of the dead in a choreographic work created especially for this evening. More details are here.

The Nivaagaard Collection reveals the big and site-specific installation ‘Nature Morte’

On February 23rd, The Nivaagaard Collection reveals the big and site-specific installation ‘Nature Morte’ consisting of real flowers created by the young English artist Rebecca Louise Law. Her beautiful and technically demanding installation reinterprets the 200-year-old flower paintings in the current exhibition on the Golden Age painter J.L. Jensen. The flowers from the painting’s surface expand in space and give a sensual and spatial art experience.

At J. L. Jensen’s time, only the female painters painted flower pictures, not having access to the Art Academy. Therefore J.L. Jensen was a popular teacher for a number of female private students. By exhibiting a successful female artist from our time, we send a greeting to former female artists, who most often have fallen into oblivion.

Rebecca Louise Law talks about her work of art and her passion for flowers. Her presentation takes place in English in conversation with museum inspector Maren Bramsen. After the conversation there will be a Q & A. The new and richly illustrated book by Rebecca Louise Law: ‘Life in Death’ will also be available for purchase at the museum shop. The installation can be experienced from February 23 until August 12, 2018. For more information visit The Nivaagaard Collection.

You can see examples from the Golden Age of painting our site.

Timelapse. Værket 'Nature Morte' bliver til

Den engelske kunstner Rebecca Louise Law har i uge 8 arbejdet med opsætningen af sit værk 'Nature Morte'. Vi har lavet en timelapse af den kunstneriske proces lige her. Installationen kan opleves frem til den 12. august 2018.

Posted by Nivaagaards Malerisamling on Friday, February 23, 2018

Geske’s Renaissance inspired textile designs

Here’s a new way to slim your waist without dieting! It’s the Renaissance wallpaper jacket designed by Geske. The pattern was inspired by Renaissance wallpaper and the shape by a Renaissance corset so it shapes to a point and emphasises your small waist. How perfect for after the holidays!

Geske trained at the School of Decorative Art (now Denmark’s Design School) in Copenhagen during the 1970’s. Following graduation, she worked in her studio with tapestry, lace-making, and machine embroidery. In 1980 she moved to Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, and began making knitted clothing.  She sold her designs in shops on Bornholm and all over Denmark.

In the ‘90’s she took a break from designing and making knitwear.  Then, in 1999 she was taken by an urge and desire that she could not ignore, and once again began designing and knitting.  She bought a Brother knitting machine and started to experiment with yarn, colours, patterns, and designs.

Geske finds her inspiration in historical clothing and its craftsmanship, which she then translates into timeless contemporary designs. The designs are knitted in the jacquard technique, a double knitting that binds the yarn on the back of the fabric, preventing the snagging of stitches when taking the garment off and on.

Geske’s objective is to create high quality, timeless  designs  that can be worn year after year. As she says,

“The craftsmanship — the process of working with my knitting machine to discover what it can do — to the nurturing and development of a small detail of a design — this is what fascinates me”.

This fabulous jacket is made from 100% merino wool, knitted in the jacquard technique and can be found on our site here. 

Sweet Valentine by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Happy Valentine’s Day! In the spirit we thought we’d post this montage of images by the famous Bertel Thorvaldsen to get you in the mood.

In recent decades the Danish sculptor has regained his rightful place in European art history as an outstanding representative of the Neoclassical period. 

As a bit of interesting history, Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen into a Danish/Icelandic family of humble means, and was accepted to the Royal Danish Academy of Art when he was eleven years old. Working part-time with his father, who was a wood carver, Thorvaldsen won many honours and medals at the academy. He was awarded a stipend to travel to Rome and continue his education.

In Rome, Thorvaldsen made a name for himself as a sculptor. Maintaining a large workshop in the city, he worked in a heroic neo-classicist style. His patrons resided all over Europe.

Upon his return to Denmark in 1838, Thorvaldsen was received as a national hero. The Thorvaldsen Museum was erected to house his works next to Christiansborg Palace. Thorvaldsen is buried within the courtyard of the museum. In his time, he was seen as the successor of master sculptor Antonio Canova. His strict adherence to classical norms has tended to estrange modern audiences. Among his more famous public monuments are the statues of Nicolaus Copernicus and Józef Poniatowski in Warsaw; the statue of Maximilian I in Munich; and the tomb monument of Pope Pius VII, the only work by a non-Catholic in St. Peter’s Basilica.

We have a number of beautiful prints by the master available as well as a coffee table book which explores the life and work of this acclaimed 18th-century master, who is often compared to Canova, and includes over 300 images.

Just visit our Thorvaldsen collection to see everything from the Thorvaldsen Museum.

How Eckersberg constructed, perfect miniature worlds – on the beautiful lie

If you love the work Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg you will enjoy this video. It shows the exhibition that the @SMK had on showing his perfect miniature worlds in a sterling selection, whose beautiful lies are as striking today as they were 150 years ago.

At first glance Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg’s works look like one-to-one representations of the real world. But in fact he adjusted and arranged things, taking out all the unsuitable bits to create a specific mood or tell a particular story. This exhibition homed in on Eckersberg’s constructed, perfect miniature worlds – on the beautiful lie.

The exhibition focused on one of the leading figures of the Danish Golden Age of art and on his striving for the perfect picture. You got to explore every aspect of this truly unique figure on the Danish art scene – the man that has been called the father of Danish painting.

Meticulous attention to detail, stringent soberness, and careful observation are all typical traits of Eckersberg. But while he observed reality with great clarity, he also edited it, reconstructing it to give it its perfect form. Eckersberg had such a profound impact on Danish art. Do enjoy!

Thorvaldsens: a juxtaposition between Neoclassicism and Nordic office chic

We love our new Thorvaldsens Museum prints in ourCultureNordic offices. A trendy juxtaposition between the ultimate master of Neoclassicism and Nordic office chic.

In the heart of Copenhagen, snuggled between the impressive Christianborg Chapel and the Parliament buildings, you’ll find a peaceful museum celebrating the artistic genius of one man. Simply know to the Danes as Thorvaldsen.

Thorvaldsen was one of the most famous artists in 19th century Europe. Admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at a young age, he later travelled to the cultural centre of the age, Rome, where he carved out a career for himself as an international artist. He returned to the city of his birth as a world-famous superstar who had created works of art for the Pope, Napo­leon and the royal families of Europe.

Thorvaldsen’s sculptures can be found today all over the world in major museums of art such as the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Eremitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen is the only place where Thorvaldsen’s art is shown in its entirety but you can still let Thorvaldsen do something for your office by seeing our Thorvaldsens print collection

Danish Architects turning it Upside Down

Talk about turning things on their heads! As Danish™​  says, Danish architects are known for their simplistic and minimalistic designs but sometimes they like to take a leap of faith and try something different. By changing perspective and playing with form, they can create unique shapes that make their architectural landmarks stand out.

Take a look at this video.. super cool! We also have a great book on Nordic Architects if you are still intrigued.

 

John Bauer: Shaping generations of perceptions of princesses, knights, trolls and fairytale characters

We love the work of John Bauer. It’s is sad to think that he died at the age of only 36.  We can only imagine what he would have produced had he lived longer.

The illustration you see here is one of several that Bauer produced for author Helena Nyblom’s tale Bortbytingarna (The Changelings). It was published in the fairy-tale anthology Bland tomtar och troll in 1913. The story is about a troll father who is so taken with the little princess Bianca Maria that he steals her from her cradle and replaces her with his own troll child instead. The children grow up and neither of them fit in with their new families. By the time they reach marrying age the situation has become untenable. On their respective wedding days, both flee to their own homes and everything is put right again.

As is often the case, John Bauer here allows the forest to form a diffuse backdrop in muted colours, held together by line-drawn outer contours. The tree trunks of the forest are tall and the boulders enormous, and they are covered with moss and lichen. The background creates a fairy-tale atmosphere and stands in contrast to the foreground, which is more detailed and painted in brighter colours. Just like in the story, Bauer works with opposites in his pictures – rich versus poor, the frightening and ugly trolls versus the ethereal beauty of the princess, the dark and threatening versus the light and good. The illustration can be described as more atmospheric than narrative. It also works as a stand-alone piece, outside the story that it illustrates.

John Bauer’s illustrations for the annual fairytale book Bland tomtar och troll (Among Elves and Trolls) have shaped generations of children’s perceptions of princesses, knights, trolls and other fairytale characters. Bauer illustrated the anthologies from 1907–1915 (with the exception of 1911), and they were so popular that he became something of a household name.

John Bauer is best known for his depictions of trolls, elves and other folkloristic creatures. In 1904 Bauer visited Lapland on behalf of his client C A V Lundholm to illustrate the life of the Sami people. This trip made an indelible mark on Bauer’s art, as he constantly returned to the rich source of folkloric features that he found in the costumes, interiors and tools of the Sami. In 1907 he started illustrating the annual fairytale book Bland tomtar och troll (Among Elves and Trolls), which was printed in large editions. His paintings of forests and trolls have influenced generations of readers.

We have this and many other fairy tale based prints sure to satisfy your mythical curiosity

Fimbul Winter is not a myth!

Fimbul Winter is not a mythHalf of the population in Norway and Sweden allegedly died during the mythical winter Fimbul winters in the year 536. Researchers believe today that it was a real incident.The phenol floor extinguishes the sun. The climate disaster, which began in 536, was certainly the most dramatic chilling people, animals and plants have experienced over the past 2,000 years. The researchers believe that two major volcanic eruptions took place, which, with a few years’ space, sent huge amounts of fine dust into the atmosphere. The sun disappeared. In human imagination and myths became the story of Fimbul winters.

“First came the Fimbul Winter, which lasted for three years. It alerted Ragnarok. Then all life ended on earth. ”

This is the story of the long winter, both in Nordic mythology and the epoch-making Finnish-language work ‘Kalevala’.

But why are there stories of a very strict winter that warns the destruction of the world in Nordic mythology?

Researchers in Norway and Sweden have over the last few years found even more traces following a disaster that hit the world 1,500 years ago, which particularly affected the Norwegians and Swedes.

In fact, the cold hit as hard as the black death, and the same was true in the Baltic states, Poland and northern Germany.

Here is a link to the full article.

 

Trelleborg’s Viking Country Village opens with new avenues

Would you like to walk in the footsteps of the Vikings? Record numbers of people went to Trelleborg to do just that including visiting Harald Blue’s famous 1,000 year old Viking castle. You can see some of the many discoveries that were made ​​during the excavation and learn more about the castle and its function. Film, models, archaeological finds and reconstructions will give you a vivid impression of Trelleborg’s history.

A year of war and culinary disarmament

Trelleborg Viking Festival attracted more than 1150 Vikings and more than 10,000 visitors. The audience could experience the narrative’s ideas about the Nordic gods. Guests could try out forces with the Vikings weapons and crafts in the Viking country town of Slagløse in Trelleborg. Finally, visitors could experience the Great Battle of Trelleborg, where the Vikings drove together and loosened each other with weapons. The sound page with commentator on the big battle was made in collaboration with Borreby Theater.

“The museum is working to give the audience the best experience, focusing on the good story of Trelleborg’s dramatic past through activities, teaching and reconstruction. We will constantly optimize the experience for the audience, so they are excited and wiser from here, “says museum chief Anne-Christine Larsen.

Successful cooperation with the local area schools 

The development of Trelleborg’s dissemination and activities for schools continued in 2017 with great success. This was true of local schools and schools from the rest of the country. In particular, cooperation with Marievangs school and Trelleborg Friskole has been further strengthened. Both schools now have regular education courses at Trelleborg on the school schedule. Until the opening, the museum is in the process of developing new teaching and dissemination initiatives. Among other things. teaching offer The sound of the Viking Age and Archeology at Trelleborg.

“The cooperation between the municipalities of Slagelse Kommune and Trelleborg continues to provide good teaching opportunities that go hand in hand with curricula, academic goals and target groups,” says Anne-Christine Larsen.

The village of Slagløse has been renovated, allowing guests to walk in the Viking footsteps and experience their everyday lives in close contact. When Trelleborg opens for the season in 2018, it’s with a whole new arcade!

JENS SØNDERGAARD – Colours, feelings and dignity for full blowout at HEART Herning Museum

For January (26.01.18 – 19.08.18) the HEART Herning Museum of Contemporary Art will open the doors for the largest retrospective exhibition with the painter Jens Søndergaard under the title “Färkraftkraft Helvede til”. The term borrowed from Søndergaard itself encapsulates his views on the art: here comes the wild temper and the great feelings of man in free play on the canvas. The women in his life and the harsh nature of his childhood character in Thy were motivated by his whole passionate and traditional breaking power through the whole of Søndergaard’s life.

Jens Søndergaard was a Danish expressionist painter. He specialised in strongly coloured landscapes depicting his feelings for the power of nature and the sea. Søndergaard won both national and international acclaim.  Born in the small town Øster Assels on the island of Mors, his father, Anders Søndergaard, was a painter, but later opened a bicycle shop in Hurup on Thy. After finishing school, he also began training as a painter. After having served his apprenticeship, he was admitted to the technical school in Aarhus. While he worked as a painter, he tried to break through as an artist. He succeeded rather quickly, and was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1916, where his teacher was Malthe Engekstad.

In 1919, Jens Søndergaard debuted at the annual Artists’ Autumn Exhibition (Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling) and hosted his own separate exhibition the following year. In 1926, he traveled to Paris, southern France and Italy. The same year, he became a member of the artists’ group Grønningen, and exhibited his works there until his death. In 1931, he received the Eckersberg Medal, and in 1946 the Thorvaldsen Medal.

Although Søndergaard died at the age of 61, he managed to make lasting marks in Danish art history and his star is still brilliant among a large crowd of passionate art collectors. The film maker Anne Moulvad, as a co-producer at the exhibition, has created a fantastic compelling documentary about the collectors in Denmark who live with Søndergaard’s works. The film can be experienced at HEART as well as a large selection of collectors’ works and unique personal stories will be shown in the exhibition.

Learn about drawing anatomy with painter Henrik Leach Hansen at the Thorvaldsens Museum

Look carefully…do you recognise these sculptures? Here’s a chance to take a drawing course amongst these fabulous works at the Thorvaldsens Museum You can buy a seat on their popular tegnekurser in Spring 2018 with Henrik Leach Hansen. 

On the drawing course with the graphic artist, the artist and painter Henrik Leach Hansen you will be introduced to anatomy, composition, proportions, plans, etc. You will learn some basic drawing techniques that are useful tools for drawing better. Naturally, teaching takes place in the beautiful surroundings of the museum’s rooms and Thorvaldsen’s sculptures. Here you will have ample opportunity for both students and interpreters on paper.

The drawing course is for anyone who wants to get better to draw. The course is also aimed especially at you who intend to apply for education in the aesthetic subjects such as design, architecture and visual arts. Read more about the course here .  If you are a fan of this artwork, we have a number of beautiful prints from the Thorvaldsen’s for your walls here.

Do you know the history of the Yule goat?

The Yule goat’s role has differed throughout the ages but in a Scandinavian custom similar to the English tradition of wassailing, held at either Christmas or Epiphany, young men in costumes would walk between houses singing songs, enacting plays and performing pranks. This tradition is known from the 17th century and still continue in certain areas. The group of Christmas characters would often include the Yule goat, a rowdy and sometimes scary creature demanding gifts.

During the 19th century the Yule goat’s role all over Scandinavia shifted towards becoming the giver of Christmas gifts, with one of the men in the family dressing up as the Yule goat. In this, there might be a relation to Santa Claus and the Yule goat’s origin in the medieval celebrations of Saint Nicholas. The goat was then replaced by the jultomte (Father Christmas/Santa Claus) or julenisse during the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, although he is still called the Joulupukki (Yule goat) in Finland, and the tradition of the man-sized goat disappeared.

The Yule goat’s origins go back to ancient Pagan festivals. While a popular theory is that the celebration of the goat is connected to worship of the Norse god Thor, who rode the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr it goes back to common Indo-European beliefs. The last sheaf of grain bundled in the harvest was credited with magical properties as the spirit of the harvest and saved for the Yule celebrations, called among other things Yule goat (Julbocken).This connects to ancient proto-Slavic beliefs where the Koliada (Yule) festival honors the god of the fertile sun and the harvest. This god, Devac (a/k/a Dazbog), was represented by a white goat, consequently the Koliada festivals always had a person dressed as a goat, often demanding offerings in the form of presents. A man-sized goat figure is known from 11th-century remembrances of Childermas, where it was led by a man dressed as Saint Nicholas, symbolising his control over the Devil.

Other traditions are possibly related to the sheaf of corn called the Yule goat. In Sweden, people regarded the Yule goat as an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were done right. Objects made out of straw or roughly-hewn wood could also be called the Yule goat, and in older Scandinavian society a popular Christmas prank was to place this Yule goat in a neighbour’s house without them noticing; the family successfully pranked had to get rid of it in the same way.

Here you see the Yule goat illustrated by John Albert Bauer, a Swedish artist. We have some great prints and Christmas cards with this image here in our Yultide collection

Can you guess who may have influenced the beautiful work of the Danish painter Viggo Johansen?

Can you guess who may have influenced the beautiful work of the Danish painter Viggo Johansen? The artist was an active member of the group of Skagen Painters who met every summer in the north of Jutland. He was one of Denmark’s most prominent painters in the 1890s.

We were interested to learn that from 1885, Johansen exhibited in Paris; there he was inspired by none other than Claude Monet, particularly in his use of colour, as well as Christian Krohg, one of the other Skagen painters. After his return from Paris, his paintings took on lighter tones; he had noted the absence of black in the works of the French artists and considered his own earlier works too dark by comparison. What do you think? We love this image! Nevertheless, Johansen is remembered particularly for the subdued lighting effects of his interiors.

A wonderful tale at Christmas: “The Fir-Tree”by H.C. Andersen

Would you like a great story to read for the kids this Christmas? Have you heard the fairy tale of “The Fir-Tree“? It is a story by the Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen. The tale is about a fir tree so anxious to grow up and have greater things, that he cannot appreciate living in the moment.

In the woods stands a little fir-tree. He is preoccupied with growing up and is thoroughly embarrassed when a hare hops over him, an act which emphasises his diminutiveness. The women call him the baby of the forest and again he is embarrassed and frustrated. A stork tells him of seeing older trees chopped down and used as ship masts, and the little tree envies them. In the fall, nearby trees are felled and the sparrows tell the little fir-tree of seeing them decorated in houses.

One day while still in his youth, the fir-tree is cut down for a Christmas decoration. He is bought, carried into a house, decorated, and, on Christmas Eve, glows with candles, coloured apples, toys, and baskets of candy. A gold star tops the tree. The children enter and plunder the tree of its candy and gifts, then listen to a little fat man tell the story of “Humpty Dumpty”.

The next day, the fir-tree expects the festivities to be renewed, but servants take the tree down and carry him into the attic. The tree is lonely and disappointed, but the mice gather to hear the tree recite the tale of “Humpty Dumpty”. Rats arrive and, when they belittle the simple tale, the mice leave and do not return. In the spring, the fir-tree – now withered and discoloured – is carried into the yard. A boy takes the star from its topmost branch. The fir-tree is then cut into pieces and burned.

The tale was first published 21 December 1844 with “The Snow Queen”, in Copenhagen, Denmark, by C.A. Reitzel. One scholar (Andersen biographer Jackie Wullschlager) indicates that “The Fir-Tree” was the first of Andersen’s fairy tales to express a deep pessimism.

You can read the full story and we also have some great gifts inspired by H.C.Andersen

 

 

Copenhagen as seen through the eyes of professional Danish timelapse Photographer Jonas Høholt

This is a super cool 1 minute 20 second video that sums up that salty old lady of the Baltic, Copenhagen! Sit back and enjoy. Well done Film maker Jonas Høholt!

If you his website you can learn a bit more about this Danish artist: Since early 2013, Jonas has spent more than 3.000 hours developing his own timelapse skills. The amount of knowledge he’s gained from research, testing and shooting experience has resulted in Jonas having completely unique timelapse skills, making it impossible to find others with the same high level of dedication and expertise in his area.
Being able to bend time in nearly any situation fascinates Jonas so much, that he’s made a business out of his timelapse abilities.

Based in Aarhus, Denmark, Jonas has recently made timelapse products for Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture, Jesperhus Feriepark and Metronome Productions.

Vilhelm Hammershoi: empty rooms, full of wonder!

We came across this old photograph of Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) , a minor star during his lifetime, the artist faded from view during the middle years of the 20th century, only to be rediscovered in recent years by a new generation of admirers… us included! Hammershøi’s cool interiors and distinctive grey-themed palette have attracted considerable attention for their restrained elegance and quiet power, and have led to a new ways of seeing his work. The works provide rare glimpses into the life of this most reclusive of artists.

Hammershoi died in 1916, aged only 52. He lived with his wife as a near recluse, painting only a few pictures a year. Many of these show the interior of the couple’s neat, clean flat at Strandgade 30, which was also his studio, at different times of the day and night. He treats his domestic surroundings as a still life, rearranging the furniture and framed pictures in each new composition, while adding and deleting figures in what amounts to a series of visual themes and variations.

Hammershoi was a slow worker and it shows. You can sense the deliberation with which he applied every touch of paint to pictures in which he plays off light against dark, solid against void, and transparency against opacity. Empty space is given the same visual importance as solid form because it is as meticulously painted as everything else in the picture. A low, almost monochromatic tonality unifies the otherwise disparate elements within each room. Hammershoi’s art is about being present in the world as it is, accepting its beauty, and living in the moment.

You can see his original works at the Ordrupgaard Museum and learn more from this interesting article written by Richard Dorment for the Telegraph.

Jewellery Competition Runner-up Ai Kennedy and her creation inspired by Vilhelm Hammershøi painting

The National Gallery of Denmark recently held a Jewellery Competition and we were very taken by the runner-up winner Ai Kennedy and her creation inspired by the wonderful Interior in Strandgade, Sunlight on the Floor by Vilhelm Hammershøi  from SMK’s Art Print Collection –

The designer Ai Kennedy comments:

“The room seems clean and quiet, and comfortable with warm sun light. I imagine the life there to be calm but emotionally rich. There are not too many objects, but those that are there appear to be carefully selected, adding personal touch to otherwise simple interior, thus enriching their everyday life.

I felt that jewelry I would design should do the same – add some unique presence to simple outfit for someone who knows what is important in their life. So I designed a piece that could be worn with modern, sophisticated and well-constructed clothes.

Geometry was taken from each element in the interior, and the components were layered to add visual volume to the cuff without making it too heavy. But the most important element in the painting was the sunlight on the floor, of course. It made me think of the passage of time. To me, it was the representation of not just the moment that was captured in the painting but the time the painter had spent in that home. So the window component of the cuff was elevated from the base in order for it to cast shadows on wearer’s wrist. I’m curious to see how shadows change depends on the time of a day and a year, and how that would be associated with a wearer’s story of their life.”

How many of the 8 Best Design Museums have you been to? 

Design Museum Danmark has been named as one of the top 8 in the world by Galerie Magazine.

The former Royal Frederik’s Hospital in Copenhagen now serves as the home of Design Museum Danmark. Scandinavia has a legendary reputation for design, so it comes as little surprise that Copenhagen, one of its design capitals, is home to an incredible design museum. Covering industrial design, furniture design, and handicrafts, the museum was founded in 1890 with the goal of inspiring both designers and consumers to create and seek out higher-quality goods.

In 1926 the museum moved into its current home, the former Royal Frederik’s Hospital, a rococo palace-like structure built in 1757. The collection highlights works by such famous Danish designers Arne Jacobsen and Kaare Klint (who helped convert the hospital into a museum), but it also has pieces from many time periods, from all across the world, that have served as inspiration to Danish designers.

The museum is home to the largest library in Scandinavia dedicated to design. You can read about the other 7 top design museums here in the article from Galerie Magazine.

What’s in a Viking name?

Would you rather be called Sigrid or Harald? Well if you were a Viking that would mean the difference between a “victorious horsewoman” or a “lord and ruler”! The National Museum of Denmark has some interesting information on the origin of Viking names.

On the Jelling Stone are the names Harald, Gorm and Thyra. “King Harald ordered these kumbls made in memory of Gorm, his father, and in memory of Thyra, his mother; that Harald who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian”.

According to the National Museum of Denmark, many boys were named after the god Thor, like Toke and Thorsten. Animal names were also popular. It was not unusual to meet Vikings with names like Orm (Serpent), Ulf (Wolf) and Bjørn (Bear).  These names celebrate the gods’ formidable enemies – such as the Midgard serpent and the wolf Fenrir – beasts that the Norse gods had to defeat at Ragnarök.

The names could also have special powers attributed to them. For instance, Frida means “peace” and Astrid “beautiful and loved”-  probably a much sought after woman. This was in contrast to Hilda, which means “the fighter”. The names gave the Vikings strength and protection in life.

Many names from the Viking Age are still in use today. There are still people called Rune, Erik, Sigrid and Tove in Denmark. The box contains many of the names that the Vikings used and their meanings. Read more from the National Museum of Denmark or see a beautiful scarf we have by Katja Bie of Storytelling Textiles based on the Jelling Stone motif.

VIKINGS The Toronto Exhibition offering a fresh and contemporary look into the Viking Age

Explore the myths and stereotypes of this ancient culture in VIKINGS: The Exhibition at the ROM in Toronto, Canada. It’s a fresh and contemporary look into the Viking Age, VIKINGS is an extraordinary window into the lifestyle, religion, and daily lives of these legendary explorers, artisans, and craftspeople. Encounter objects rarely displayed outside of Scandinavia in this compelling exhibition that challenges the perceptions of the Viking Age through hundreds of objects, as well as interactives, and immersive experiences.

Travel back in time over 1,000 years and explore the Viking footprint in Canada. Exclusive to the ROM, this section of the exhibition dives into the archaeology and history of the Norse on our East Coast. Follow their journey across the Atlantic and discover some of the myths and mysteries of these ancient peoples.

Danish Design and the Search for the World’s Happiest People

Just when you thought the Danish designers knew everything there was to know about chairs, here’s something new…it should make you smile!

Apparently people feel much happier if they call Happiness “Lykke” rather than Happiness according to ‘Happy Meik’ who wrote about how everyone should try and be a bit more Hygge last year. And you know we do value our Hygge!

Copenhagen is probably the most Lykke place in the world. At five o’clock in the afternoon everyone leaves work, rides home on their bicycles, does two hours of creative play with their children, goes out to do a random act of kindness to a stranger who wants to be left in peace, lights five candles and then settles down to watch several episodes of a Scandi-noir TV thriller about some psychopathic paedophile on the loose.

In The Little Book of Lykke Meik Wiking talks about Co-operation saying that in Denmark there is a “Be Nice to Someone Hour” at 9.45 every morning that people have to enjoy or they are sent to prison. Yikes! Be Lykke or else!

They also play games that try to make children feel included. In Britain, children play musical chairs where one chair is removed every time the music stops. This can make those children who lose feel bad. Far better to play the game by adding a chair every time the music stops. That way children become less and less stressed. This would certainly make us feel a bit more Lykke and it adds a whole new level of meaning to Danish chair design now doesn’t it?!

Jacob Surland on creating a vertical panorama of two stitched together photographs

We see horizontal panoramas frequently but here is an example of a vertical one. This is an amazing photograph of the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona taken by the super talented Jacob Surland. It is a vertical panorama of two stitched together photographs. How cool!

For those of you photography enthusiasts, Jacob Surland explains how he goes about achieving this effect on his blog. He calls himself “a total wide angle lens addict” and says “I have much more than I actually need, but they serve different purposes and have different strengths and weaknesses.” Read more of his blog

He discusses the camera and lens he uses as well as the more technical details which needless to say are a bit lost on us…but we certainly do appreciate the finished product! We also have a number of his famous photographs on our website if you are interested in a print of your own for your house.

Have you ever wondered how Monet achieved such flickering atmosphere?

This instantaneous character of the pictures was often the result of a long working process. This picture belongs to one of the extensive series on which Monet started at the beginning of the 20th century. From a hotel room in London he painted the view of Waterloo Bridge, the Thames and the factories on the opposite bank in different weather conditions and at different times of the day. The pictures are not so much views as a kind of studies of atmospheric conditions and phenomena: the rippling of the water, the traffic that passes over the bridge, chimney smoke in the background and above all the veil of light or fog that envelops the whole motif.  In this case Monet seems to have begun the painting in London and later finished it over an extended period in his studio in Giverny.

We have a wonderful print of this image from the Ordrupgaard Museum which you can see here

Can you guess how we used to punish serfs in the 1700s?…

…Whip on a tree horse or a dungeon trip!?! Yikes! Discover how disobedient peasants were punished in this short theatre show. In the midst of the green idyll at Frilandsmuseet, Morten Eisner plays a passionate researcher who will conduct a fair lecture on punishment, kicking, wood horse and justice. But nothing goes as planned …

The piece is about the 17th century pygmy culture, where the landowner and his fellow keeper had the right to tear the farmer if he was disobedient to his domination. The landlord had to knock, kick and dangle, put the farmer on a wooden horse or throw him into the dog’s hole.

The arrangement “Powder, wigs and prygl – the farmer of the 18th century” is part of the Nationalmuseet collaboration with Historier om Danmark and Nordea-fonden

Click here to find out more.

Enter our Facebook contest for a chance to win a FREE copy of The Race

Where is the world’s most remote museum? You can see it pictured here.Hint: The puppy dogs are a clue!

Make a guess, tag us, and share it on your Facebook timeline if you dare. If you guess right, we will pick out three people to win a FREE arctic print of The Race by Carsten Egevang

Click here to visit our Facebook page for more details.

Get up close to see these impressive runestones at Kongernes Jelling

What a great way to preserve these impressive runestones!

At the Experience Centre Kongernes Jelling you can learn about the Viking kings Gorm and Harald, their rune-stones, the huge ship-setting and the gigantic palisade which was built over a thousand years ago.

In the tenth century, at the highest point in the landscape west of Vejle, the kings Gorm the Old and Harold Bluetooth created a monument that is unique in the Nordic context. The oldest feature is the remains of a huge ship-shaped stone setting – then came the rune stones and the mounds, and finally the palisade.

Gorm the Old’s rune stone links the royal couple Gorm and Thyra to a kingdom called Denmark. The story continues on Harold Bluetooth’s rune stone, which describes a central event in the history of Denmark: the King’s acceptance of Christianity on behalf of his whole people. For that reason the stone is often called “Denmark’s Certificate of Baptism”.

You can read more about the runestones at the Experience Centre here http://en.natmus.dk/museums/kongernes-jelling-home-of-the-viking-kings

New artwork at Art Park Ordrupgaard by Danish artist duo Randi and Katrine

Did you know that the pinecone has been used as a decorative element in architecture and is considered a symbol of enlightenment and knowledge? This takes it a step further!

The Danish artist duo Randi and Katrine’s addition to Art Park Ordrupgaard is a four meters tall pinecone called Pinecone Pavilion – created especially for the park. Pinecone Pavilion will be placed in a small clearing, behind trees and brushwood, as a hidden surprise, that reveals itself to the visitor. The pavilion will be surrounded by pine trees and small fallen pinecones.

The artist duo has long been interested in the structure, patterns and configurations of cones. Here’s a video which tells their story…

SMK blends art and dance

SMK The National Gallery of Denmark is presenting another wonderful blending of arts. You can experience an art talk, a guided tour of the Christian II exhibition and watch ballet and art melt together in their collaboration with The Royal Danish Theatre, where you have the opportunity to watch small performances inspired by the works of the museumWe think this such an imaginative blend of art and ballet.

If you love the ballet you may also like to see the many prints we have of some of the most inspiring images from the Royal Danish Ballet available here.

 

 

Tales of mead-drinking from Old Norse mythology

The Old Norse mythology very much confirms the idea that Norsemen treated alcohol as a sacred beverage. The tale of the theft of the sacred mead is one of the most well-known Norse tales. Óðinn, in the form on an eagle steals the mead of poetry from the giant Suttungr.

The drinking culture of the Norsemen is one of the few aspects of ancient Scandinavian culture that both archeology and literature agree on. Medieval Norse-Icelandic sagas are literally filled with tales of mead-drinking, ale-brewing and beautiful Valkyries serving refreshments to fallen warriors in Valhöll. Similarly, the archeological record of the Nordic lands is full of drinking vessels, brewing equipment and images of happy drinkers

Even beyond the myths, it appears that Norsemen put a lot of thought into drinking. Consuming the divine beverage was considered a core part of any celebrations, marriages and meetings. During such events, the warriors, served by the lady of the house would hail the Gods and their ancestors as well as make boastings and oaths which were considered sacred. Through drinking, Norsemen would therefore weave their fates and address the Gods.

This tradition was so strong that we have a number of drinking vessels you can get for yourself on our website http://bit.ly/2elwC56

If you think jewellery is just for women, think again. Viking men wore jewellery!

When picturing ancient Vikings, jewellery does not usually come to mind, most people picture savages with huge swords but these ancient Norse people did make beautiful rings, bracelets, necklaces, and other types of jewellery out of such precious metals as gold and silver. Early in their history the Vikings jewellery was very simple, but later they created beautiful intricate pieces.

Both men and women loved wearing jewellery. They wore rings, brooches, bracelets, and necklaces to show their status. The poor made their jewellery from bronze, pewter, or the bones of animals they ate for dinner, whereas the rich used precious silver and gold. Men wore a single brooch on their right shoulder, while women wore one on either shoulder to fasten their shawls. The Vikings picked up fashions in jewellery from the countries they visited and changed them to their own style. Many Viking ornaments featured images of animals, particularly the twisting shapes of snakes.

This beautiful, elegant replica of a Dragon Pendant and Brooch is a piece of jewellery recovered around 80 years ago at Roskilde, the city that became the capital of the kingdom at the close of Danish prehistoric times. This is where Svend Estridsen and his sons resided, and it is believed that the owner of this piece should be found among them. In the art of the late Viking era, a favourite motif was an animal of indefinable zoological heritage, but unquestionable elegance, whose body is often depicted entwined by a snake. This is visible on the Jelling Stone, in the woodcuts of the era and in jewellery, and this brooch is a sterling example of the latter. With the advent of Christianity in Denmark, 600 years worth of evolution in heathen Viking era animalistic art were sadly swept aside by Christian plant ornamentation. But the death of Viking art is at least a beautiful one. This brooch is currently kept at the Danish National Museum.

It seems there was a very large Danish Viking presence in England after all!

The study, published in the journal Antiquity, contradicts the ‘People of the British Isles’ project, which used DNA evidence to argue that there was “no clear genetic evidence of the Danish Viking occupation“.

Jane Kershaw, a postdoctoral fellow at University College London says, “We are currently living in a time of large-scale migration,” she added. “We must open our eyes to the fact that the same thing happened 1,000 years ago, rather than think of our ancestors as people who just stayed at home and never left their farms.”

As many as 35,000 Danish Vikings moved to England to start a new life between 800AD and 900AD, a new study has estimated, with the researcher likening them to economic migrants today.

You can also read more about this study here in The Local dk http://bit.ly/2tE53we

We’ve got a miniature version of this ship you can see here http://bit.ly/2v80Gap

Essence of Ballet

Have you seen Danish photographer Ingrid Bugge’s work “The Essence of Ballet”? In this video she discusses her fascination with the human body. She herself says: “There they are, the dancers, so fine and gracious, with make-up and dressed in elf clothing and troll fur, beetle wings and rococo wigs. It’s an enchanting sight. I carefully take the camera from my bag. I do not dare to press too hard on the release button or stand too close. I feel like a stranger here, trying to settle in. I am given permission to photograph from the auditorium, from behind the scenes and from the rigging loft, where the light technicians work. Looking through my viewfinder, I constantly discover new expressions in the movements, captivating me. Lights glide poetically over the magical scenery. The orchestra fills the theatre with music. The dancers are transformed. The orchestra and the dancers become one. ” –  Ingrid Bugge on The Essence of Ballet.

You can find some of her images on our site here

Authentic Viking Ship Glass Sculptures

Hundested is a small coastal town north of Copenhagen boasting long traditions of sublime crafts. Some of the world’s most beautiful and elegant ships used to be made here as well as fishing boats robust enough for all kinds of weather.

Hundested is located on the entry to two main fjords; Isefjorden and Roskilde Fjord. These two fjords were literally buzzing with activity in the Viking Age. A shipwreck has been found close to Lynæs (a Hundested harbour) and it is well known that Vikings lit huge fires on the steep fjord slopes to warn of enemies approaching from the sea. At the far end of Roskilde Fjord you will find the famous Viking Ship Museum.

The maritime history of Hundested and the imagery of Viking ships passing have inspired two of the harbour’s contemporary craft companies; cabinetmakers Egeværk and glass artist Backhaus & Brown. These two award-winning workshops have combined their masterful crafts in an innovative collaboration; namely a series of sculptures named ”Glasskibe” – Viking ships in glass and wood.

If you want to see more viking ships, you can click here to see our art prints and other cool viking ship gifts.

A New Hans Christian Andersen Museum for Odense

A world-famous architect will be waiting in the wings to design and build an innovative and enchanting Hans Christian Andersen Museum, once the City of Odense has obtained the funding. Kengo Kuma of Japan has achieved celebrity status as a result of his wide-ranging projects which are simultaneously striking and understated. If everything goes as planned, Kengo Kuma will open both the Olympic stadium in Tokyo and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense in 2020.

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The museum’s expansion will carry a fairytale theme, captured in Kengo Kuma’s design. It will feature a large garden filled with tall trees that are encompassed by circular timber structures. The project aims to create a new home for the author behind childhood classics The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Little Mermaid.

Hans Christian Andersen was a prolific author, writing plays, novel and poetry however he is best remembered for his wonderful fairy tales. He wrote both children’s stories as well as themes that transcend age and nationality.

His fairy tales have been translated into over 125 languages and tell lessons of both virtue and resilience in the face of adversity that speak to children and mature readers.

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Some of the craziest things the world has forgotten about the Vikings

Here we thought we knew everything about Vikings! Did you know that in spite of their raiding and invading reputation, they were in fact very clean people; they bathed once a week – and yes that’s a lot for that time.

Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets but instead one like you can see in this photo. In spite of their pillaging reputation, most Viking men were not warriors but farmers! You can see the helmet we have here.

Now here’s a surprise… these Vikings were skiers! That’s right; the Scandinavians developed primitive skies nearly 6,000 years ago. It should be noted, though, that some scholars believe that ancient Russians may have developed them earlier. The Vikings utilised skiing as an efficient method of transportation.

You can read more interesting Viking trivia here in the Vintage News

Karen Blixen’s ‘Out of Africa’ in New TV Series!

Did you love watching Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the Academy Award winning picture ‘Out of Africa’?

If you wanted more you’re in luck! A new TV adaptation is coming out so you can see more of the adventures of Danish born author Karen Blixen. It will be directed by Susanne Bier the Emmy-winning producer of The Night Manager according to the Deadline Hollywood article.

Karen Blixen was born in Rungsted, Denmark on 17 April 1883. She wrote Out of Africa to recount her experiences single-handedly operating a farm in Kenya, living along side the indigenous people and finding and losing love. You can learn more about her fascinating life at the Karen Blixen Museum