Posts with the painting Åsgårdsreien by the Norwegian artist Peter Nicolai Arbo (English title: The Wild Hunt of Odin). Arbo was interested in history and painted several paintings with Asa gods, Vikings and other Old Norse historical motifs.
Across the ancient, moonlit midwinter landscape, the celestial riders swarm forward, closely followed by Odin's ravens, the foremost god of Nordic mythology. The god of war Thor thunders forward with a raised hammer, he shouts to the goats Tanngnjost and Tanngrisne who pull the cart. After the party, it shines like in a fire - can it be Helheim we glimpse?
Åsgårdsreia was, according to old Germanic mythology, a messy ride between the Christmas weekend and the New Year weekend consisting of ghosts, restless dead souls, trolls and other nuisances. According to Norwegian tradition, it was the hero Sigurd Fåvnesbane who led it. The squad in the background passed of the witch Gyro Rysserova.
Åsgårdsreien is based on Norwegian mythology and the national romantic poetry from Arbo's time. Not least Johan Sebastian Welhaven's poem from 1844 with the same title, where the first line reads: "Sound through the air at night, a train rides on frothy black horses".
The image's doomsday mood and dramatic composition have several features from the romance: the contrast between life and death, light and shadow, near and far.
Artist: Peter Nicolai Arbo | Created: 1872 | Publisher: The National Museum / Børre Høstland | Copyright: CC-BY
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