Séra Friðrik og drengurinn

Séra Friðrik og drengurinn

Sigurjón Ólafsson

  • Year : 1952
  • Height : cm
  • Width : 140 cm
  • Category : Skúlptúr
  • Sub-category : Málmskúlptúr

Corner of Amtmannsstígur/Lækjargata Like many other people, Sigurjón Ólafsson had been taught Christian studies as a boy by the Rev. Friðrik Friðriksson (1868–1961). He was fond of the pastor, who had devoted himself to the welfare of the youth of Iceland: he founded the YMCA in Iceland, as well as football and scouting organisations, to name but a few. During World War II both found themselves stuck in Denmark during the German occupation, unable to return to Iceland. Sigurjón made a bust of the Rev. Friðrik in 1943, “before it was too late,” as he said. The bust was displayed, along with other portraits by the sculptor, at the Listvinasalur gallery in 1952. Former pupils of the aged clergyman then proposed that an appropriate monument should be erected, for which Sigurjón was the obvious choice. Valtýr Stefánsson, editor of daily Morgunblaðið, undertook to raise funds for the project, and negotiated with local and national authorities to find a suitable location. The Rev. Friðrik started to sit for Sigurjón in the spring of 1952, when a 60cm clay maquette was made. This was greatly enlarged by the artist that summer in Copenhagen. The boy standing by the clergyman’s side was modelled on a wooden figure of a boy by the artist’s first wife, Tove, and on the young son of one of his colleagues. Sigurjón enlarged the piece to its full size and completed it in Copenhagen, where it was cast at the Lauritz Rasmussen foundry. The Rev. Friðrik’s posture, and the composition of the piece, are not only a function of the great age and declining powers of the clergyman; they also manifest a perceptive understanding of his character and his life’s work. “By placing them side by side, the pastor and the boy, and connecting them by a simple arrangement of their arms, Sigurjón succeeds in suggesting the ‘restful, kindly dignity’ of the Rev. Friðrik, as Björn Th. Björnsson put it, and his heartfelt bond with ‘the boy, who is all boys.’ ” (Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson: Sigurjón Ólafsson: Ævi og list (Sigurjón Ólafsson, Life and Work). In addition, the Rev. Friðrik’s head is in itself a masterly portrayal of his personality, and every plane in the face responds to the slightest changes in the light.

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