The pioneers of modern Icelandic art, painters Þórarinn B. Þorláksson (1867-1924), Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876-1958), Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972) and Jón Stefánsson (1881-1962) were very different artistic personalities. Yet most of their early work can be seen as an extension of the romantic nationalism that characterized Icelandic cultural life. Þorláksson and Jónsson captured the characteristics of the Icelandic light and the stillness of the bright summer nights, Stefánsson came to grips with the barren and monumental aspect of the highlands and Kjarval infused the landscapes that he painted with a rich and turbulent inner life.In the wake of Iceland´s sovereignity new and radical artistic trends were brought to Iceland, abstraction among them. Þorláksson died prematurely, but Jónsson went on to evolve a more realistic approach to landscape. Stefánsson increasingly sought to define the social reality of his countrymen. Kjarval continued to be the most unpredictable of artists. In his large-scale compositions we find a fusion of real life and folklore as well as his own personal experiences.