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Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Erró

Halldór Laxness

Year
1984-85
Height
130 cm
Width
195 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Lakkmálverk

Throughout his career, Erró has painted biographical works or “narrative portraits” of famous and less-famous individuals. In 1985 he unveiled a biographical portrait of Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness (1902-98) as a gift to the City of Reykjavík. The piece expresses the narrative portraitist's vision of one of the leading narrative authors of European literature. In the composition and choice of subject everything is done to emphasise the greatness of the author. The painting is based on different “faces” of Halldór Laxness, which Erró borrows from, amongst others, renowned Icelandic artists. The main emphasis is on two large hyper-realistic portraits in the style of religious icons. The angels are a reminder of the writer’s religious inclination, but also represent divine beauty. Viking expeditions on land and on sea bear witness to the victorious progress of the well-travelled author and his early struggles, as well as referencing motifs from his works of fiction. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, may no doubt be interpreted as a symbol for the heights to which Halldór rose as an author, and his significance for the people of Iceland.

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