Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Decade

Ásmundur Sveinsson

Móðir jörð

Year
1936
Height
cm
Width
96 cm
Category
Skúlptúr
Sub-category
Málmskúlptúr

Location: Reykjavík Botanical Garden. Ásmundur made Mother Earth in 1936 when he spent several months in Copenhagen. It depicts a child suckling at the mother’s breast. The sculpture was enlarged and cast in bronze in 1957. The composition of Mother Earth corresponds almost exactly to the classic pyramidal form. The woman’s leg and back, together with the child and the woman’s left arm, form a symmetrical composition, a stable form which lends the piece steadfastness and calm. The equilibrium in the overall structure is made more fluid by the soft outlines and rounded forms of the bodies of woman and child. The sculpture has a lighter ambiance than the artist’s previous works, partly due to the open space between the mother and child. The two figures are simplified into stylised forms. The material here, as before, serves to delineate the form, which in its simplicity lends the piece a symbolic significance, and a range of possible interpretations. When it comes to the import of the piece, many different meanings can be read from it, both psychological and spiritual. But the artist tells us that the woman symbolises the earth, and the infant humankind, and so the work represents the fertile and generous earth, nourishing the human race. In Bókin um Ásmund the artist told editor Matthías Johannessen: “I made Mother Earth in Denmark at about the same time as The Kiss. I made it for my father, who believed in soil and earth. It’s my one and only contribution to agriculture.”

Other works by artist