Previous Exhibitions
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Creative Hands. Icelandic laid-and-couched embroideries of past centuries.

  • 4. nóv 2023 - 5. maí 2024 Bogasalur

 Treasures of Icelandic art from past centuries. 

The exhibition displays all the extant Icelandic historical embroideries sewn in laid-and-couched work. Most of them originally hung in Icelandic churches, and they provide insight into Icelandic ecclesiastical art. The oldest surviving examples date from the late 14th century, while the most recent was stitched in 1677. The majority of the pieces (ten) are altar frontals. Fragments of one horizontal wall hanging (Icelandic refill) survive, together with the border of an altar riddel (the only extant example of this feature), an altar frontlet, a portrait of a bishop, and an orphrey cross on a chasuble.

The exhibition Creative Hands presents the results of decades of research on laid-and-couched embroidery by Elsa E. Guðjónsson (1924-2010), who worked at the National Museum of Iceland for over 30 years as a textile specialist. 

These masterpieces of Icelandic art from medieval and early modern times were the work of artistically gifted women who had gained expertise in weaving and embroidery.

The exhibition Creative Hands in the Arc Hall at the National Museum of Iceland offers visitors the opportunity to see these treasures of Icelandic art for themselves. Never before have all the extant examples of Icelandic laid-and-couched work been displayed together. They number fifteen: nine are in the collection of the National Museum of Iceland, while six are on loan from foreign collections: four from Nationalmuseet København in Denmark, one from Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, Netherlands, and one from the Louvre in Paris. 

Creative hands is the main event of 2023, when the museum celebrates its 160th anniversary. 

Hátíðarmerki 160 ára afmæli