Arts and Culture
From the beginnings of the writing age, literature has been a dominant force in Icelandic cultural life while the other branches of art are somewhat younger. Since the earliest times, Icelandic women undertook decorative weaving and embroidery and created many works of art with blankets and covers, and Icelandic men carved on wood and bone and pursued silver work. But it is not until the twentieth-century that all art forms began to bloom, particularly painting.
Painting first came into the public gaze in earnest during the turn of the last century, when Icelandic artists ventured into the greater world to study that branch of art. Whilst Icelandic painting has been influenced by mainstreams on both sides of the Atlantic, it has at the same time developed distinctive national characteristics.
Significant growth also came in other art forms, such as theatre, sculpture, cinema, and music. The Reykjavík Theatre Company has been operating since 1897: it was resident at Iðnó until it moved to Borgarleikhúsið in 1989. The Icelandic state theatre, The National Theatre House, was opened in 1950. The College of Music was established in 1930 and in 1950 The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra began performances, in collaboration with the National Broadcasting Service and the National Theatre of Iceland. The Iceland Dance Company, Opera, and many other smaller groups have made their mark on cultural life.
Also, the blooming cultural life amongst amateur performers in Iceland is striking. There are amateur theatre groups throughout the county and all kinds of choirs and musical groups.