There is an important difference between Oscar Wergeland’s painting Eidsvold 1814 from 1885 and his first draft from 1882. The article analyses this difference in light of Michael Fried’s notions of theatricality and absorption, describing the final version as a pictorial speech act, a visual statement in a tense political conflict. In 1885, Eidsvold 1814 served as a rhetorical argument about constitutional principles. Eventually it became a national icon, a recognizable visual object representing the Constitution and the Norwegian political system in general. The article describes this transformation and discusses examples of contemporary counter-images that appropriate and recontextualize the icon.
The main decoration of the Council Chamber of the Royal Palace in Oslo consists of three history paintings commemorating King Haakon VII’s arrival to Norway and his oath to the Norwegian Constitution in 1905 and his return after war-time exile in 1945. This paper discusses the iconography of these works in light of Walter Bagehot’s notion of ‘the disguised republic’, and argues that as a whole they represent the King’s ideal role in a democratic, constitutional monarchy.
This article discusses, in a comparative perspective, the role of landscape photographs in Norwegian and Sámi culture – as markers of memories, history and national identity. From this perspective, it examines the use of landscape representations in Norwegian nation-building processes – with special attention to the parallel politics of assimilation directed towards the Sámi people in the northern part of the country. Finally it also asks how contemporary Sámi photographers direct the camera towards their own landscapes, as part of the ongoing processes of political and cultural revitalisation in the North.
This article discusses Jens Hauge’s photographs of cultural landscapes and argues that his work poses an aesthetic and regional challenge to the traditional representations of Norway and Norwegian landscapes. The article also takes a closer look at what can be characterized as political and existential aspects of his photographs, proposing that his work may be understood in light of political questions concerning farming and the status of the cultural landscape in Norway.
The article deals with the book Norge i det nittende Aarhundrede (Norway in the Nineteenth Century), from 1902. The publication was a nearly encyclopaedic presentation of what the editors considered the primary examples of Norwegian history, nature and culture. The article’s focus is on the work’s plethora of illustrations, several made especially for the work by leading artists of the day. What do these images signify?
The pavilion called The Expatriate Norway at the 1914 exhibition launched to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Norwegian constitution represented Norwegian emigrants as modern Vikings whose wanderlust and achievements contributed to the riches and greatness of the nation. Although Norway was not an empire in a political sense, the pavilion’s exhibitions created an image of a nation with global dimensions in the shape of Norwegian presence, activities and possessions world-wide.