Flight from volcanic eruptions

Ásgrímur Jónsson

Flótti undan eldgosi - Ásgrímur Jónsson

For Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876–1958), volcanic eruptions and people fleeing from natural disasters were important themes, that recur in many of his works. The oldest dated works are from 1904, while the majority of his eruption pictures were made in 1945–57. These number between 50 and 60 images: large paintings, watercolours, as well as numerous drawings, many of which are sketches for the paintings. The works invariably depict terrified people and their farm animals in the foreground, fleeing from a volcanic eruption in the background. Chaos reigns, and spectacular colourplay intensifies the terror depicted by Ásgrímur. As a child the artist had experienced an eruption of Krakatindur, east of Mt. Hekla, with accompanying earthquakes. In his memoirs he recounts that, following the eruption, he realised that peril and the sublime were integral elements of life of earth. He later witnessed eruptions of Mt. Hekla and Mt. Katla, and under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. His volcano pictures are believed to have been inspired by the Mt. Katla eruption in 1918, while no doubt he was also influenced by accounts of earlier natural disasters. On level 4 is a small watercolour of a volcanic eruption in Sicily, made in 1908; in his memoirs the artist recalls that he began making eruption pictures in 1908, during a winter he spent in Italy.

Artist: Ásgrímur Jónsson


12.01.2024 – 14.04.2024


The House of Collections

Hverfisgata 15, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland


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