The country is sometimes erroneously called The Republic of Iceland and sometimes its counterpart Lýðveldið Ísland in Icelandic, but the official name is rather like the official name of Canada - simply the country name. One example of the former is the name of the Constitution of Iceland, which in Icelandic is Stjórnarskrá lýðveldisins Íslands and literally means "the Constitution of the republic of Iceland", but note that "republic" is not capitalized. The official title of the President of Iceland (Forseti Íslands) does also not include the word republic as in some other republics. See also Names for Iceland.
The system of education in Iceland is based upon the American system, and there are four levels: playschool, compulsory, upper secondary and higher. Education is mandatory for children aged 6–16. Most institutions are funded by the state; there are very few private schools in the country. There are 192 institutions catering for compulsory education, 42 schools for upper secondary education and 9 higher education institutions.
The oldest gymnasium in the country is Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, which traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt. The school was moved to Reykjavík in 1786, but poor housing conditions forced it to move again in 1805 to Bessastaðir near Reykjavík. In 1846 the school was moved to its current location, and a new building was erected for it in Reykjavík. The University of Iceland was the first higher education institution in the country, and was established on 17 June 1911, uniting three former Icelandic schools: Prestaskólinn, Læknaskólinn and Lagaskólinn, which taught theology, medicine and law, respectively. The university originally had only faculties for these three fields, in addition to a faculty of humanities.
Ásmundur Sveinsson was an Icelandic sculptor, was born at Kolsstadir in West Iceland on May 20, 1893 and died in Reykjavík on December 9, 1982. His themes were often men and women at work and included such pieces as, The Blacksmith, The Washer Women and The Water Carrier. During the 1940s Ásmundur's work moved even farther away from the human and animal form that had been his mainstay until then and by the 1950s he was producing work that was almost entirely abstract. Like many Icelandic artists Ásmundur drew upon the traditions of his native country when seeking subjects to inspire him. These include Trollwoman, (1948), Head Ransom, (1948), based on a poem that Egil Skallagrimsson composed to save his own head and Hell-Ride, (1944) taken from the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlusson.
There is no more sagacious animal than the Icelandic horse. He is stopped by neither snow, nor storm, nor impassable roads, nor rocks, glaciers, or anything. He is courageous, sober, and surefooted. He never makes a false step, never shies. If there is a river or fjord to cross (and we shall meet with many) you will see him plunge in at once, just as if he were amphibious, and gain the opposite bank.