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Day 143: Museum of a museum

Gustav III Museum of Antiquities is a rather peculiar museum. It is a museum of a museum, that is, it is a museum recreated based on the museum which used to be housed at the Royal Palace. For a period of time, these pieces were moved to National Museum. They were subsequently restored at the Palace once again, and reopened as Museum of Antiquities. Therefore, this is a museum honouring what was one of the oldest European museums.

The museum is not particularly big, consisting of only two galleries. The bigger one containing a number of key statues, including Apollo and his nine muses, and Endymion, while the narrower gallery is used to mostly display busts of men of fame in the past. What’s quite amusing was listening to the guide explaining how rogue merchants of the past classified something as an object of antiquities from Roman civilisation. Apparently, as long as there’s at least 30% of original parts to the work, it was considered antiquities. And missing parts (limbs, attributes) can subsequently be replaced by, say, reconstructive sculpting works. Intriguing.

Day 142: Wha’cha lookin’ at?

Day 2 in Stockholm and more tourist-playing to be done of course. I still marvel at how different the city is in the summer, given my only previous trip to the Swedish capital was in winter (a coooooold February). Today, Åsa and I managed to squeeze in Stockholms Stadsmuseum, Vasamuseet and Skansen. Pretty good effort all round and a reasonable amount of walking, not that I’m complaining, as I’ve been pigging out on local food and could definitely use the walk to get rid of some of the calories.

Skansen is the world’s first open-air museum, displaying buildings from various parts of Sweden (which had been shipped to Skansen piece by piece) as well as devoting a major part of the resources to retain cultural information of Swedish civilisation. Staff in period costumes can be seen in the historical village, and they are always on hand to explain how things work from decades of the past. There is also an open-air zoo at Skansen, exhibiting many Nordic animals including brown bear (and there were two cuddly baby bears!), lynx, moose, wolverine etc. The owl must has sensed my excitement in exploring Skansen but given its imprisonment, it would only give me this “meh” expression.

Day 141: A roomful of Munch

I arrived late last night for a long weekend in Stockholm to visit Åsa who I haven’t seen for ages. Not only that, Matt also made a special trip down from Uppsala for the day and it was years I last saw him, at Iowa! We explored the Kungliga Djurgården (the Royal Game Park) and its nature trails, lunched at the organic café of Rosendals Trädgård (Rosendal’s Garden), and on Matt’s suggestion, went to Thielska Galleriet (Thielska Gallery) which I fell in love with immediately.

This museum is housed in what was originally a private residence to a banker, Ernest Thiel, and the collection of Scandinavian art within was his private collection, many of which the pieces were courtesy of his friends who are great artists including Edvard Munch, Carl Larsson, Bruno Liljefors and Eugène Jansson. The room photographed here is that of Munch’s collection.

What I love most about this museum is the use of the concept of minimalism to display the arts very effectively. As a result, one does not feel overwhelmed by too many pieces of work at any given space, yet the thread of theme which links one work to another remains. In addition, each display hall is spacious and filled with plenty of natural light. It just feels so — fresh. I don’t know how else to describe it. All I can say is, I was a very very happy bunny :D

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