One of my favourite cities in the world has been Stockholm, ever since I first visited it in 2000. Since that first visit, I have lived there for three years working and studying and my last visit there was in 2010. While there are many places and things I like about the city, this post is about the six places of art in this city that are special to me.
Prins Eugen, who was himself a landscape artist, left his home Waldemarsudde and his collection to the Swedish state in his will. Therefore, since 1948, the place has been open to the public. The building was built in early 20th century as a residence for the prince. He soon added a gallery as an extension to the house, as he needed space for his expanding art collection. At the time of his death, his collection included 3,200 of Prins Eugen’s work and around 3,500 works by other artists.
I first visited the lovely home and art museum in Djurgården on a lovely excursion organized by my university, KTH. I fell in love with the house and its park overlooking the lake so much so that I brought my mother here for her birthday. The aesthetically pleasing landscaped gardens has several famous sculptures including Carl Milles’ Archer and an Alexis Rudier cast of Rodin’s The Thinker.
This beautiful art museum is a not-to-be-missed gem by the visitor to Stockholm city. There is a restaurant and cafe, the Prince’s Kitchen, within its premises.
Nearly around the same time that Prins Eugen moved into his newly built home, Waldemarsudde in Djurgården, the artist couple Carl and Olga Milles bought their property on the island of Lidingö. Over the next several decades, Carl Milles designed his gardens and added his fascinating sculptures to the landscape.
The visit to Millesgården was also a special treat organized by my university.
More than the house itself, I liked the gardens and my favourite was this little piece of sculpture on a low wall. A tiny stone carving of a wooden bench on which a couple are huddled together from the the cold. If you peeped across the bench, you would see a man sleeping on the other side. The sleeping man is supposed to be the artist, Carl Milles himself, and represented his time in Paris as a struggling artist.
3. Monument honouring Raoul Wallenberg
During my initial months in Stockholm, my parents and I stayed in Lidingö for a short while. While walking with my mother across the city hall park, I came across a monument which called out to me from the first time I saw it. It was that of a man handing out documents, with his hands clasped at the back, and hands reaching out from the ground for those documents. Seeing that sculpture by Willy Gordon began my fascination with the story of Raoul Wallenberg‘s life. As a Swedish diplomat in Budapest during World War II, he is credited with saving the lives of about 100,000 Hungarian Jews, before he disappeared in January 1945. I admired his initiative, courage and commitment, despite knowing that he would be targeted eventually.
4. Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan
Not just because it was one of the universities I studied at, I also like it very much because it is aesthetically pleasing. The main campus building in Ostermalm was built in the early 20th century and features work by prominent Swedish sculptors such as Carl Milles and Ivar Johnsson. The borggården (courtyard) is particularly lovely during summer.
5. National Museum
The museum was built in 1866 and is currently closed for renovation. For one of my mother’s birthdays, I had planned a day trip to this national museum. My mother used to enjoy painting a lot but at some point, had stopped her painting. After her visit here, she was re-inspired so much so that she not only resumed her painting, our apartment and my sisters’ houses were soon filled with her artwork.
6. University of Stockholm
The campus at Frescati is located within a beautiful area and includes the Bergius Botanical gardens. Walking around the campus, taking in the sculptures by Marianne and Sivert Lindblom among others, is a treat.
Which of these special six places would you want to visit? If you have already visited some or all of them, how was your experience?
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