In sorrow by Theodor Lundberg at the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden

This marble sculpture which is just over 1 metre long is in the Sculpture Courtyard of the Stockholm National museum and was made in 1900. It almost has a slight translucent look to it. The extremely beautiful woman is huddled up and hiding her face. Her hands are clasped. Its almost like the viewer has caught the subject unawares and she hides from us. We might even go as far to say as it’s as if the viewer is a voyeur but has been caught in the act just like Peeping Tom from the legend of Lady Godiva, in probably the most famous example of voyeurism ever. Voyeurism is the sexual interest in or practice of watching other people engaged in intimate behaviours, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other actions of a private nature.

The museum tells us that “The goal was to evoke strong emotions. Lundberg’s sculpture expresses sorrow and resignation. The woman elicits compassion, but also the feeling that it is somehow indecent to regard her too closely. It is a very private moment. She is enclosed in herself, naked, defenceless and exposed.”

Theodor Lundberg was a Swedish sculptor who was born in Stockholm in 1852 and died in Rome in 1927. He grew up in a poor home and became fatherless at a young age when he also apprenticed with the medal engraver Lea Ahlborn at a Mint. He later became a student at The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, then became a professor at the academy in 1908 and the director in 1911. Lundberg was known to have been one of the most engaged artists in public art and sculpture which worked so well with the tastes of the Oscarian era. The Oscarian era was a historical epoch in Scandinavia, when Oscar II was king of Sweden and Norway (from 1872 to around 1907) during the Swedish–Norwegian Union.

By Anthony King (c)