Mikines – Best Artist in the Faroe Islands

By Verified Expert

Who is the most renowned artist in the Faroe Islands? Looking for a gallery in Tórshavn to experience paintings by the great master of Faroese art Mikines? Find out everything you need to know about Mikines, the best artist from the Faroe Islands.

The real history of art in the Faroe Islands begins in 1927. Three young artists held an exhibition in Tórshavn, the capital. The young artists were William Heinesen, Jákup Olsen, and Sámal Joensen-Mikines.

It was the youngest of the three exhibitors who was to achieve international attention and spark off the impulse to paint among many of his fellow countrymen. Sámal Joensen-Mikines (1906-1979), is the father of art in the Faroe Islands.

Early painting by Mikines. This painting was exhibited on his first ever exhibition, which has held in the capital, Tórshavn

He grew up in Mykines, one of the most isolated of the 18 Faroe Islands. Mikines received his first instruction from a Swedish artist, who had come to Mykines to paint birds.

Whereas his early paintings are quite naturalistic, and record his home surroundings in careful detail, Sámal Joensen-Mikines later become highly original in his use of colour and design. The best of his paintings are psychologically very suggestive.

Mikines painted the same motive again and again. This motive is painted from Mykines island with Tindhólmur islet and Vágar island as a backdrop.

You can see his famous painting “Home from the Funeral” at the Art Museum in Tórshavn. This painting evokes the inevitability and fatalism of a Greek tragedy; his characters are painted in dark, greenish colours with faces and hands accentuated.

This picture won acclaim for its daring use of lines and shapes. The figures form a steep mountain, in the eternal shape of the landscapes in the Faroe Islands.

The dark painting here is called “Aftur av jarðarferð”. This is Mikines’ most famous painting. You can enjoy the painting at the National Gallery in Tórshavn. Photo credit: Listasavn Føroya.

Mikines is the painter of human life. He paints the land, the people, the immense sea. You can feel the salty sea and the salty tears in the heavily loaded boat in paintings such as Home from the Funeral.

Mikines acknowledged his indebtedness to the artist Edvard Munch as well as his admiration for El Greco and Delacroix. The best place to see paintings by Mikines is to visit the Art Museum in Tórshavn.

A traditional Faroese boat next to the island Mykines in front of the sea stacks Flatidrangur and Píkarsdrangur. Painted by Mikines in 1931-32.

The doubt and depression that often overwhelmed him account for the deep pessimism and pathos in his pictures of the late 1930s. In all his work, Mikines turns to the Faroe Islands.

Most of all he kept returning to his native island of Mykines. The artist found his themes on the dramatic island far away from the crowds. As the artist said: “Without this sense of belonging and this world of images, I would lose my identity both as an artist and as a human being”.

Vágsbotnur in Tórshavn city centre as painted in 1934 by S.J. Mikines.

Want to know more about the best artist in the Faroe Islands? Make sure to visit the National Gallery in Tórshavn where you will find great paintings by Mikines.

You can also get to the island where Mikines was born and raised and the island that was the artist’s leitmotif throughout his life. Browse the largest selection of Mykines Tours.

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