The Youth

  • Artists:

    • Ernst Poleszynski (Founder, printer i.a. in duplication)
    • Ingebrigt Vik
  • Creation date: 1913
  • Object type: Statue

On display: Room 061 The Collection Exhibition - Moods and emotions


Ingebrigt Vik’s The Youth, acclaimed as one of the highlights of early-twentieth-century Norwegian sculpture, represents a naked young man who stands with his legs together, with his weight on the one foot. He holds his arms behind his back, and his body twists slightly as he bends his head down and looks at the ground. The handsome figure seems somewhat melancholic and pensive.

The sculpture’s smooth, polished surface reflects light in a way that clearly displays the body’s anatomical structure. Vik used a welltrained athlete as his model, but he chose to sculpt the body as more slender and less muscular than the athlete was in reality.

In its exposition of masculinity and athleticism, the sculpture is part of a classical tradition. The work is also clearly influenced by Auguste Rodin, in particular his sculpture The Age of Bronze. Vik’s sculpture nonetheless contrasts its quiet, introspective, and somewhat mournful appearance with the heroizing ideals of antiquity and impressionism’s focus on movement and energy.

Vik came from the region of Hardanger in Western Norway. He worked for many years as a woodcarver and an artisan before training to be an artist in Copenhagen and Paris. His sculptures were often executed in a classicizing, naturalistic style. On two occasions his entries won first prize in major monument competitions, albeit without resulting in an actual commission. It was after such a letdown that Vik sculpted The Youth, and its wistfulness perhaps reflects the artist’s own state of mind at the time.

Text: Elsebet Kjerschow

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Ynglingen (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
  • Width: 53 cm
  • Height: 163 cm
  • Depth: 69.5 cm
  • Weight: 130 kg
Motif - type:
Acquired 1914
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Annar Bjørgli