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Art in the north - tourism and influences  
by Rósa Rut Þórisdóttir


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Historical background
  Until 15th century, the main field for visual art in Iceland was the church.  After the reformation, art was no longer allowed in the churches and art production was reduced for centuries.  Peoples’ need for artistic expression was fulfilled through crafts, and decorating/functional art.
  It was not until the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries before people started more commonly to go away to Denmark for education, that some started to study art.  People, boats, houses and daily life were the most common subjects.  It was not until later in connection with the struggle for independence and a growing of population, that Icelanders started to see the Icelandic nature as something unique and exciting to paint (Björnsson 1964:7).  The interest in landscape painting though lasted only through one generation of painters.  When the romanticism of independence faded away the new generation of painters took interest in the daily life again (Björnsson 1973:14).
  Today many Icelandic artists seek their subject matter in the mystic world of the hidden people, fairies and elves of Icelandic folklore or other poetic creations.  Daily life and paintings of houses are still classic and paintings of Puffins, Sheep and Plovers are growing in popularity.  Abstract paintings are also currently popular.
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Art in the north-tourism and influences, by Rósa Rut Þórisdóttir.
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