This year the National Museum presents five exhibitions in celebration of the bicentennial of Norway’s constitution: three historical exhibitions under the common title “Norway 1814”, and two contemporary exhibitions.
Jacob Munch, "King Carl Johan XIVs coronation in Trondheim". The Royal PalaceFrom the exhibition "Images of an Era. Norway 1814" in The National Gallery. Photo: Annar Bjørgli, The National MuseumFrom the exhibition "Images of an Era. Norway 1814" in The National Gallery. Photo: Annar Bjørgli, The National MuseumFrom the exhibition "Images of an Era. Norway 1814" in The National Gallery. Photo: Annar Bjørgli, The National MuseumPeter Fredrik Wergmann, "Christiania", 1835. The National Museum
Under the common title Norway 1814, three exhibitions are shown in three different venues: The National Gallery, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, and the National Museum – Architecture. These exhibitions will explore the art of the period in a new light. Visitors will be able to view many works that have rarely if ever been shown in public before. The exhibition is accompanied by a packed programme of events aimed at a broad audience, and a variety of educational activities for children and young people.
The National Gallery 17 January–18 May 2014
The exhibition shows the development of the visual arts in dialogue with new ideals that were emerging in the art field internationally at the time. Landscape depictions presented Norwegian nature, with its waterfalls and forests, as both beautiful and rich in resources. It wasn't only Norwegian-born artists who furthered this development; Danish, German, Swedish and English artists also helped to redefine perceptions of Norwegian nature. The ideals of the new bourgeoisie found expression in portrait painting, which renders many of the people who played central roles in building the new nation.
One important institution in the growth of the Norwegian art scene was the Royal College of Design (Tegneskolen), founded in 1818. The exhibition offers a detailed introduction to the artists who taught and studied there and the work they produced in the school's early years.
The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design 02 February–31 August 2014
Furniture, glass, ceramics, fashion and architecture all express new ideas about democracy and national independence in the transitional period from the opulent splendour of the rococo to the simplicity of the Empire style, which built on the ideals of antiquity. Trade relations with foreign countries and the development of Norwegian industry were other important factors that influenced new ideas about design and fashion in these decades.
The exhibition presents, among other things, the magnificent residence of the Anker family known as the Paleet, which in 1814 became the royal residence of Christian Frederick and, later, of Karl Johan, Norway's first king during its union with Sweden. The exhibition presents objects from the National Museum's collection together with artefacts loaned from other national and international collections.
The National Museum – Architecture 15 February–08 June 2014
In 1814, Christiania became not just Norway's capital, but also the centre for an entirely new state administration. The exhibition shows how the buildings in the city's Quadrature district were adapted for new functions. As its first debating chamber, Norway's parliament used the assembly hall of Christiania's Cathedral School, a space designed by the architect Charles Stanley, one of two figures who recur throughout the exhibition.
The other is Christian Heinrich Grosch, whose works also include the main building that now houses the National Museum – Architecture (the former Norges Bank in Christiania). Spread throughout the Quadrature, the exhibition explains both what has been lost and what preserved from the period.
Two contemporary art exhibitions
In connection with the bicentennial the National Museum also shows the touring exhibition “In the National Museum's Blind Spot”, produced in collaboration with TrAP (Transnationional Arts Production).
“Grip friheten! Take Liberty!”, an international group exhibition that examines democracy, national identity and personal freedom, opens in the Museum of Contemporary Art 11 April.