Gothenburg 1-The Poseidon Adventure

Carl Milles' statue 'Poseidon' (1923)-the god of the sea, in Götaplatsen announces his presence.

      Fountain in Drottningtorget.

Gustav II Adolf statue (1854) by Erland Fogelberg in Gustav Adolf's Torg, Gothenburg.

Relaxing in the sun with one of the many public statues around town.

The neo-gothic Oscar Fredrik Church (1893) in the distance.

I found the church a bit depressing. It's the difference between real gothic and neo-gothic. Neo-gothic does not get the lightness of spirit of real gothic in my opinion though it's still impressive. You feel weighed down by all the masonry and bricks rather than uplifted.

This caught my eye hanging in a local cafe.

Rose window at the Oscar Fredriks church (1893). 

Gothenburg's a lovely city to walk around if you're into the water and all it's paraphenalia. One of the 17th C canals.

View from inside the Eriksbergshallen where the exhibition 'And there was Light' was held. I was captivated by the light in the room.

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride in downtown Gothenburg.

Fountain outside one of the churches. Fancy kissing a fish!

This is for my friend John.

One of the demostrations that punctuated the weekend.

The Hasselblad Centre is part of the Konstmuseet (Art Gallery) but we didn't get time to have a look so we'll have to go back again cos the photos looked fantastic.

Sweden’s pretty flat from what I’ve seen so far. In fact dead flat, though I haven’t been north yet but Gothenburg’s surrounded by these small pine covered hills which makes it quite picturesque. It's on the west coast of Sweden and is still Sweden's most important port.

Ferry travelling to one of the many islands.

The Barken Viking (1906) on the left is permanently moored. It sailed the wheat route to Australia. Today it's a hotel. 

Ships ahoy!


One rainy day we visited the maritime museum. It's cram packed with historical artifacts from Sweden's maritime history. Interesting but I enjoyed the aquarium more which is in the same building.

One of the 17th C bridges in Gothenburg.

I'm always a sucker for a brightly coloured fish.  At Gothenburg's aquarium.

 Gothenburg is also the place where ‘La Bella Principessa’- the only recently discovered Leonardo of the last century- can be seen and that's why I really wanted to go.

After I saw the Leonardo’s at the Louvre I’ve become more of a fan as they were so much better than I'd thought. You really have to see paintings in real life to appreciate them properly as the colour and tone is frequently altered in books. I used to think Leonardo’s paintings were kind of dark and murky and ugly but seeing the real thing they are truly mysterious. No form has a real edge in his pictures. Everything just merges into everything in the most controlled, subtle way. The technique is remarkable. And they glow.

Close up of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Virgin on the Rocks' (1483)

Leonardo's Mona Lisa still amused behind bullet proof glass.

The Leonardo was part of a show called the ‘:And there was Light’ which was showing at the Eriksbergenhallen, a converted warehouse along the water’s edge in Gothenburg.

Eriksbergenhallen, Gothenburg

In front of the Eriksberghallen.

The exhibition was pretty good but I think children and young people would probably enjoy it more because of all the technology used to bring the work and period to life. The whole show was in darkness except for the room with the life size copy of Michelangelo’s David’ and a giant slab of imitation marble, so you basically wander around squinting in the dark. What stood out to me was the Michelangelo drawings mainly of engineering and architectural ideas as they’re so intense and emotional, much more than his paintings which leave me cold. You can really feel his personality through the marks and messiness of the technique. His drawing is the opposite of Leonardo’s which are so controlled and careful like a students.

'La Bella Principessa' (c1480-90) by Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo drawing.

From there we wandered through the crowds in the spring sunlight to visit the Gothenburg Art Gallery which is part of the brilliantly designed Götaplatsen - the centre of the arts in the city.

Gothenburg's neo-classical Art Gallery (1925) looming over the tents.

Everyone was out in the sunshine having an ice-cream. People cycle everywhere because the city's so flat and there's few cars.

The water runs in the fountains here unlike in Australia where they're all turned off because of drought which is kind of necessary but sad.

Mallard duck with her babies enjoying the sun as well.

Street in Gothenburg.

The Swedes really like their Neo-Classicism architecture that's for sure. But the severity was tempered by heaps of people licking icecreams and hanging in the cafes everywhere. It’s amazing what the sun can do. The previous day the streets were deserted then the sun comes out and it’s like a different place. The carnival like atmosphere was added to by the rainbow flags hanging everywhere even on the trams, testifying to Gothenburg’s support of the gay community. Gothenburg’s a very gay friendly city.


The Konsthallen shows temporary exhibitions.

Inside the Art Gallery.

The Gothenburg Gallery is actually fantastic, so light and airy and full of really interesting work from all periods. In the Nordic section there were a number of artists who were really influenced by Fauvism and I liked them better than the French varieties-even Matisse. Can’t remember any names though. You just don’t hear about them in any of the art books on the 20c in english so I’m going to have to find out some more.

The sculpture gallery is brilliant to wander through with the ubiquitous Carl Milles in evidence, inside and out. An exhibition called Renässanser was on which had some classic etchings by Durer, and the Mannerist Hendrik Goltzius- a great drawer of men with bulging muscles. My favourite at the gallery was the brilliant Rembrandt ‘Knight with a Falcon’ (1666) that was recently cleaned at the Getty museum. His incredible perceptiveness into character and unflinching honesty is beautiful and moving. The colours glow now, which they must as no-one has ever painted so many browns and dark, dull colours.

Rembrandt's 'Knight with a Falcon' (1660) A great painting.

Carl Milles' Poseidon (1925)

Carl Milles' Twisting Man (1927) in the sculpture gallery.

Angel in the stairwell.


  1. Susan, Thanks for sharing these photos! Was the Mona Lisa on tour? I too am entranced by Michelangelo's drawings.... absolutely phenomenal! I once saw some of his preparatory drawings on a wall in Florence. They were so beautiful!

  2. That's ok Erin, glad you enjoyed them. No the Mona Lisa is still in the Louvre. I doubt the French would ever let it go anywhere else. They had a Leonardo drawing in the Gothenburg show 'La Bella Principessa'. Which was nice but I totally agree with you the Michelangelo drawings are just phenomenal. Sounds like a nice trip to Florence.


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