Die of Destiny

Finnur Jónsson 1925 1925

It is interesting to look at the composition of the work Die of Destiny. In this piece the artist plays with different aspects of the basic shapes, a circle, a triangle and a square. Two-dimensional parts are mixed with three-dimensional ones, some areas are completely flat and levelled while others have the illusion of three-dimensional objects with shading and simple perspectives. The lines are strategically drawn horizontally, vertically or askew. The main colour feature is the primary colours yellow, red and blue. The artist uses gilding to express the power of light and brightness which is highlighted with shadowing. The paintings inner space is undecided; it only adheres to its own restrictions. The only thing that seems to have an objective model is the red die that depicts the number 1 although this is truly only the interplay of a square and a circle. The work has a very meaningful title that refers to this die. The whole work has an unexplainable mystique despite the obvious composition.
Finnur Jónsson studied drawing and later goldsmithing in Iceland but eventually went abroad to study art. He began in Copenhagen but in 1921 he went to Germany, first to Berlin and later to Dresden. He studied in Dresden until 1925 during which time Dresden was a leading cultural city in Germany. Finnur started studying at the international division of the Academy of Fine Arts where Oskar Kokoschka, a prominent expressionist at the time, was among his teachers. Finnur later became a student in the private school Der Weg. Cubism, expressionism, suprematism and constructivism were all happening in the art scene in Dresden in the 1920s and Finnur painted a few works that strongly referenced these styles and movements, Die of Destiny being one of them.

LÍ 4784
The National Gallery of Iceland