R eykjavik Iceland will probably never be counted as a mecca for art lovers. On the contrary art museums in the capital are often pretty bland and downright average compared to great museums abroad.
However, three museums especially do make many foreigners sigh with pleasure and awe. And no, we´re not talking about the famous penis museum.
Those are in no particular order (see map below):
- EINAR JONSSON MUSEUM Just steps away from Hallgrimskirkja church on the top of Skolavordustigur is a rather dark and forbidding structure. This is the Einar Jonsson Museum and the dark exterior is extremely fitting. His sculptures are very symbolic and take their inspiration partly from the pagan gods and legends. Most of his work here is very dark but dark as they may be they offer remarkable piece of mind for most visitors. The museum is both inside and outside in the garden. The garden part is truly beautiful and free for all but for entrance in the building there is a charge of $ / 5€. The Museum is only open thu-sun between 14 and 17. Homepage.
- ASMUNDARSAFN Asmundur Sveinsson sculpture museum is naturally named after local sculptor Asmundur Sveinsson. One of the pioneers of Icelandic art and like Einar Jonsson sought inspiration from the country, nature and local mythology. His works are not to everyone´s taste but truly beautiful. The museum is in his former home and workplace in Sigtun road a bit from downtown Reykjavik area but close to hotel Nordica, Grand Hotel and Cabin hotel to name a few. The museum building itself is very unique but Sveinsson drew on architecture in the Middle East in his design. Open daily from 10 – 17 in summertime and from 13 – 17 in wintertime. Admission is 10$ / 8€. From downtown take bus no.2 from Hlemmur bus station and get off in front of the Hilton Nordica hotel. From there three minute walk to Sigtun museum. Homepage.
- NATIONAL GALLERY Another fine museum in downtown Reykjavik just steps from Reykjavik Pond. The entrance can be difficult to see but it is located in a small alley right behind the Frikirkjan church by the aforementioned Pond. Unlike the other two museums varied stuff is shown here but more often than not there are exhibitions of famous Icelandic artists or artworks connected in some way to Iceland. Not too big but gives a really good insight into local art. Nice coffee shop and gallery shop here also. Open every day except mondays between 10 and 17. Admission 9$ / 7€. Free for people under 18. Homepage.
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