As well as its innovative sea and river voyages around the world, Viking Cruises is also renowned for its continual support of the arts. Following on from last year’s sponsorship of the V&A’s major Ocean Liners: Speed & Style exhibition, this year, the cruise line is working alongside the British Museum on the anticipated Edvard Munch: Love and Angst exhibition, which will run from 11 April – 21 July 2019.
The exhibition will be the largest display of Munch’s prints in the UK for 45 years and focuses on the artist’s skill in expressing human emotions and experiences, from love and desire to jealousy and grief. One of the highlights will be a rare lithograph of The Scream, one of the most iconic images in art history, the first time any version of this piece will have been on show in a UK museum for a decade. Inspired by the artist’s Nordic roots, Viking actually has the largest private collection of Munch artwork outside of Oslo, featuring 28 original pieces which are displayed on its ocean ships.
Talking of which, guests on Viking’s ocean ships can learn more about Munch’s most inspiring pieces at ‘Munch Moments’, a daily event which features a digital display set to live music. As well as its Munch collection, Viking, known for its culturally enriching cruise itineraries and immersive destination experiences, has curated its own collection of diverse artwork covering a broad spectrum of genres and eras, offering cruise travellers the chance to have an enriching journey when on its ships.
Cruise liners as floating art galleries has become something of a growing trend of late – with many liners boasting substantial and impressive collections. Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, for instance – the biggest cruise ship in the world – boasts 13,347 contemporary works that are worth a jaw-dripping US$8 million. MSC Cruises has onboard museums to showcase its art on its new Meraviglia-Plus ships, while the Regent Seven Seas Explorer liner includes works by Picasso and Chagall onboard.
Expanding the culturally-rich experiences for its guests, Viking Cruises also offers art-focused itineraries, meaning that travellers can experience a subversive art journey and holiday. The Waterways of the Tsars, itinerary, for instance, explores the Russian arts scene from Moscow to St Petersburg. While The Viking Shores & Fjords journey takes in Amsterdam, and a look at its rich heritage of Old Masters, Skagen – a place of inspiration for generations of artists – and Oslo, including an excursion to the Munch Museum.
Back in the UK, Viking will continue to add its artistic flair to projects throughout 2019 with the unveiling of its garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Following the success of Viking’s gold-medal winning garden in 2018, the ‘Art of Viking’ garden by designer Paul Hervey-Brookes is inspired by artwork on board the newest ocean ship, Viking Orion – specifically a painting by Norwegian impressionist Jakob Weidemann, ‘Impressions on Nature’, as well as ceramic pieces by Anette Krogstad. It’s inspiring stuff.