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Skönhet och skötsamhet: Konstnärliga utsmyckningar i svenska skolor 1870-1940
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of the History of Art.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about the permanent artistic decoration of Swedish school buildings during the period 1870–1940. Its main aim is to examine the ideals and values which the works installed can be said to convey. It takes its starting point in the major movement for the decoration of schools in Sweden that began around 1900, and that was part of a broader recognition of the importance of public art in the country.

The thesis analyses the basic thinking behind the move to install art in schools. In Sweden, discussion on the subject was initiated by the writings and lectures of Carl G. Laurin and Ellen Key. The most important argument for the artistic decoration of schools was the general ennobling influence of art. Art represented beauty, and was thus associated with goodness and truth.

The study covers some eighty permanent schemes, or individual works, in Swedish schools, created between 1877 and 1940. They are discussed, first, in a thematic section, with a focus on the different types of subject matter represented, and second, in a number of case studies. Among the subjects dealt with in the thematic analysis are characteristic themes such as sport and outdoor recreation and scenes reflecting school activities. Many of the works portray well-behaved children and young people, who are held up as good examples.

The nine case studies analyse individual schemes in greater depth. They include examples that reflect the specific cultures and ideologies of, for instance, higher public grammar schools and girls’ schools. An important aspect of the case studies is their analysis of the reception of the schemes. The reviews examined include discussions of what types of subject were appropriate in art for children and young people.

One conclusion drawn in the thesis is that a broader aim of the artistic decoration of schools seems to have been to mould a sense of identity. The images created depict children and young people themselves, regional landscapes and regional and national history.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Konstvetenskapliga institutionen , 2004. , 364 p.
Eidos (Stockholm), ISSN 1650-5298 ; 13
Keyword [en]
Art in schools, Carl G. Laurin, Carl Larsson, Ellen Key, Georg Pauli, mural painting, public art
National Category
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-229ISBN: 91-7265-920-3OAI: diva2:191216
Public defence
2004-10-01, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-09-09 Created: 2004-09-09Bibliographically approved

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