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Ásgrímur Jónsson: Korriró og dillidó
1 January, 2020–31 December, 2021
Step into magic! The visual world of Icelandic folklore and fairy tales created by Ásgrímur Jónsson in his art is a truly enchanted realm. Elves, trolls and ghosts, which had lived in the Icelandic mind in the semi-darkness of the old turf farmhouse, were given a clear form in Ásgrímur’s art. He first exhibited such pieces in Iceland in 1905. Ásgrímur’s works on folklore themes were well received; in the press, reviewers expressed delight that for the first time the folktale heritage was being addressed by an Icelandic artist. Ásgrímur’s depictions of the appearance of elves and trolls met with widespread approval; hence the artist appears to have succeeded in capturing the way that Icelanders in general imagined such beings. Today the folklore paintings form part of the unique cultural heritage conserved in the collections of the National Gallery of Iceland.
The exhibition Corry-Roe and Diddly-Doe, in the artist’s studio in his home on Bergstaðastræti, offers an ideal opportunity to experience the unique supernatural world of elves in their finery and terrifying trolls, as depicted with passionate sincerity by Ásgrímur Jónsson. At the exhibition visitors can listen to a number of folktales, in both Icelandic and English; young and old, families and groups can enjoy them in the unique setting of the artist’s own home.
The National Gallery of Iceland collection includes more than 1,000 works relating to folklore and fairy tales; and in Ásgrímur Jónsson’s sketchbooks are 2,000 drawings mainly inspired by that tradition. The exhibition in Ásgrímur Jónsson’s house displays a selection of his extensive oeuvre of folklore pictures – both oils and watercolours, as well as drawings. These include his interpretations of such tales as Una the Elfwoman, the Night Troll, Gissur á Botnum, Búkolla, Mjaðveig Mánadóttir, the Deacon of Myrká and “Look into my glowing eye, Gunna.”