Royal Salute

1 October 2021 – 9 January 2022

Royal Salute from Sweden! Royal Salute showcases European and Swedish art from the collections of the Swedish Nationalmuseum. Spanning the past 500 years, the exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics and also photographs of the Royal Family as part of the section on contemporary art. Comprising more than 50 exhibits, the show begins with the Renaissance and continues through the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical periods to the early 20th century and finally to the turn of the millennium. The show features art works rarely seen in Finland by such artists as Adriaen de Vries, Cranach, Rubens, Boucher and Manet, as well as Swedish classics including Roslin, Sergel and Carl Larsson.

Royal Salute is a lavish journey through the history of Western art as well as the surrounding context of political and cultural history of Europe. It illustrates how national art has been shaped in the crucible of international influences. The show also reminds us how the legacies of Swedish rulers such as Gustav II Adolf, Queen Christina and Gustav III live on in Finnish society. The exhibition includes several works of art owned by Swedish royalty, such as Lucas Cranach the Elder‘s painting Lucretia, acquired by Gustav Vasa, Italian faience objects belonging to Queen Christina, and Rembrandt paintings owned by Gustav III, later reattributed to the master’s workshop.

Scenes based on colourful ancient myths and stories, masterful and allegorical still lifes, prestigious official portraits and intimate interiors all reflect the values and stylistic ideals of their day, just as the genre paintings, urban motifs and rural landscapes completed in the realist style of the second half of the 19th century. Some of the works are tangible reminders of encounters between European nations, such as the large bronze sculptures that came to Sweden from Prague and Denmark in the 17th century as spoils of war.

Produced in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum, Royal Salute was tailored for Turku Art Museum based on Nationalmuseum’s touring exhibition Six centuries of contemporary art. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of virtual guided tours during the autumn, with experts providing background information on the themes of the show.

The Nationalmuseum was inaugurated in 1866. Its art collection is the largest in the Nordic countries and among the most important in Europe in terms of its breadth and temporal range. The museum has its origins in the Swedish royal art collection established in 16th century. The Royal Museum was founded in the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1792 and opened to the public in 1794, just one year after the Louvre, making the Nationalmuseum one of the oldest public art museums in Europe. In addition to the visual arts, its collections include a wide range of craft objects and applied art from different periods and cultures.