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.
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
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
paintings are also currently popular.