In the first part of our ultimate guide, I showed you primarily statues depicting former reigning monarchs and other important historical members of the Swedish society. Sculptures can have many forms, though, and this time, I show you a number of mythological figures together with more sculptures we have not visited yet.
We start at the southwestern corner of the popular Vasaparken where locals spend their free afternoons and weekends. The statue named Arbetaren (‘The Worker’) has been welcoming both locals and visitors to the park since 1917. The bronze statue is a work of the Swedish sculptor Gottfrid Larsson and it represents the working class who were increasingly moving to the city at the time when it was unveiled. Districts such as Vasastaden in which the park is located became the new home for thousands who had left their hometowns for work.
Far from the world of the early-20th-century workers, in Nobelparken, there sits a bronze replica of a world-famous sculpture. While it is uncertain who the author of the original marble Fountain of Diana (in Swedish known as ‘Den vilande Diana’) is, we know that it was commissioned by King of France Henry II in the 1500s. Proving the quality of this work is the original’s placement in the Louvre in Paris.
Near the shores of Djurgårdsbrunnsviken on the opposite side from Nobelparken, you would find the Rosendal Palace (Rosendals slott) surrounded by several interesting art pieces. Among them are the four antique sculptures including Apollo seen in one of the pictures above. Perhaps not quite a sculpture but certainly a noteworthy piece is the Porphyry Vase (Porfyrvasen), which is said to be the biggest in the world, standing on the northern side of the palace.
An unusual couple of sculptures can be seen on the Skeppsholmen Island by the entrance to The Royal Institute of Art (Kungliga Konsthögskolan). The lion and the boar have been standing in the location since the institution moved in in 1995. However, the shared history of the school and the sculptures goes much further.
The original sculptures standing by the staircase at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Konstakademien), which the Royal Institute of Art used to be a part of, were created in the late 17th century during architect Tessin the Younger’s era. These were in turn copies of a 16th-century lion and a 17th-century boar created by Italian artists and standing in Florence, Italy.
We continue in the spirit of exploring unusual places by coming to Brantingtorget (‘The Square of Branting’). This well-hidden square in the Old Town of Stockholm (Gamla stan) gives you a unique opportunity to lose the crowds for a while and enjoy a bit of solitude directly at the heart of the town. Brantingtorget is dominated by a statue of Morgon (Morning), unveiled in 1962, forming the centre of a small fountain.
An iconic sculpture is awaiting visitors on the unique terrace under the Norrbro bridge. Solsångaren, as the sculpture is known, stands proudly overlooking Central Stockholm from Strömparterren, essentially from the sea level. The sculpture was completed in 1926 by the renowned Swedish sculptor Carl Milles who is the author of a large number of public sculptures on display both in Stockholm and around the world.
Far from the rush of the city centre in a world of its own, Drottningholm Palace is the home to many historical sculptures, particularly those created by Adriaen de Vries. Already during the era of Queen Hedvig Eleonora, the gardens surrounding the monumental Drottningholm Palace featured 28 individual bronze sculptures.
Many of these were brought from the continent and from other Nordic countries as war trophies. While the statues enchanting the park today are replicas, you can still get to see the originals in the nearby museum dedicated to the work of Adriaen de Vries.
As a former residence of a passionate artist Prince Eugen, Waldemarsudde (Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde) not only displays beautiful paintings of local artists in its interior, it gardens are a place where colourful flowers meet numerous sculptures, both classical and more modern.
Among the most notable ones, you will find the ‘Small Triton’ (Lilla tritonen) fountain created by above-mentioned Carl Milles, a massive sculpture of Heracles (Herakles), or a statue of young Carl von Linné whom I mentioned in the first part of this guide.
Somewhat hidden on the hill forming the Observatorielunden park is another mythological figure, the Centaur (Kentauren). While you might not normally stumble across this statue overlooking Stockholm Public Library (Stockholms stadsbibliotek), you will be rewarded with great views if you do make the extra effort.
Displaying everyday lives of people, just like the sculpture of Arbetaren we visited before, is the work of Per Hasselberg known as Farfadern (‘The Grand Father’). It displays an elderly man holding a child as a symbol of new beginnings. Even the sculpture itself in a sense received a chance for a new beginning as while the original has not been preserved, a copy created a couple of years after the author’s death is still standing in Humlegården.
One of my personal favourites among sculptures in Stockholm is the one forming the centre of the fountain located at Mariatorget square on Södermalm. ‘Thor’s Fishing’ (Tors fiske) displays the well-known god from the Norse mythology in the beautiful environment in a lively part of Södermalm where locals and tourists alike come to enjoy the moment.
Although the surrounding areas of the city are not less busy than Mariatorget, the small park where you would find the fun sculpture known as ‘Triton on Dolphin’ (Triton på Delfin) is another one of those places that are hidden from the sight of those who are not in the know.
Interestingly, the park stands in the location of the former residence of the renowned architect Carl Hårleman who led such impressive projects as the reconstruction of the Royal Palace or the construction of the Old Observatory sitting at the top of Observatorielunden I mentioned earlier.