Nationalmuseum Jamtli in Östersund presents an exhibition of portraits from the museum’s tremendous collection. The exhibition introduces women, men and children who lived in or worked for Sweden from the Vasa period to the present day. Some of the artists and models have a connection with Jämtland.
Duskily as in a mirror, people from past centuries and from our own times can be made out in the portraits. The paintings, sculptures and photographs are not reality but an image of how the model wishes to appear for eternity and how the artist chooses to interpret this. The artworks show different ideals of appearance and fashion, while they also reflect how ideas of status, social identity and profession have changed over the centuries.
The exhibition Just like in a mirror – portraits over five centuries presents various themes, such as the family, the cultural elite and the royal house.
Bernhard Österman, Gustav V, King of Sweden. Photo: Per-Åke Persson/Nationalmuseum
Laila Prytz, Birgit Nilsson, opera singer.
Ida von Schulzenheim, Pierre Louis Alexandre, artist's model and dock labourer.
David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, Self-portrait with allegories. Photo: Anna Danielsson/Nationalmuseum
Marja Helander, Britta Marakatt-Labba, artist.
Per Krafft The younger, Charlotte Jeanette and Anne Sofie Laurent. Photo: Erik Cornelius / Nationalmuseum.
One of the most exciting categories is the artists’ self-portraits. They portray themselves as everything from successful court painters to unworldly bohemians. Near these are also portraits depicting fellow artists, often informal in nature. The exact opposite are official portraits of the royal family, especially of the reigning monarch. Here the model represents not only himself but also his office and wealth. Besides these opposing poles, the exhibition presents us with portraits of officials, authors, actors, sporting stars and a dock labourer.