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Art over power

Posted August. 11, 2022 08:00,   

Updated August. 11, 2022 08:00


It is rare for a prince who didn’t become a king to have a smooth fate. The more brothers there are, the bloodier the power struggle is. Swedish King Oscar II’s fourth son, Prince Eugen, chose art over power. He became a renowned landscape painter after he studied art in Paris.

While Prince Eugen chose a life as a painter and a patron of other artists, he also had temptations. In 1893, he was recommended at the age of 28 as the king of Norway. However, it didn’t get materialized due to his father’s opposition. The painting was created while Prince Eugen stayed in Sundbyholm castle in southeastern Sweden in the summer of 1893. The castle, which was built in the 17th century, is located on the hill looking down at the ocean as in the painting. The yellow building with a red gable roof has simply beauty, unlike a glamorous palace. Did he feel torn between temptation for power and passion for art? He painted a scene of a clear summer day with dark rain clouds coming in. While white clouds symbolize a divine revelation of god or ideals beyond reality, dark rain clouds symbolize challenges or ominous feelings. The painting features half white clouds and half dark clouds, revealing his anguish at the time.

By working as an artist and in various art associations and the public art sector, Prince Eugen who pursued radical ideas and trends did not get married and helped the development of Swedish culture and art. He bought land in Waldemarsudde near Stockholm and built a house of art in his mid-30s. He lived happily until the age of 82 in the tranquil house surrounded by beautiful nature and art. After he passed away, he donated 3,500 pieces created by himself and 450 pieces made by other artists, as well as the house and property, to the country.

Seventy years after his death, he is still loved and respected by the Swedish people. ‘Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde,’ the museum named after him, is one of the most popular museums in Stockholm. The prince who chose art over power must have known that power is temporary but art lasts forever.