Archive for the ‘Visual Arts of Norse Inspiration’ Category

Great Norse Birthday Suits!

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Ask and Embla stand proudly above the main square of Sölvesborg, Sweden, bearing their mighty fine birthday suits for all to see. Not only is this inspirational because these were the first two humans in Norse mythology, but also because we just don’t get enough Norse mythology these days.

So, the statue was created by Stig Blomberg, who also did the badass piece of Thor scowling at his goats like a fucking madman over at Kungliga tekniska högskolan in Stockholm. I used to have an image of that one posted on this site as well, but then someone infiltrated and raped and pillaged my petty domain (because derailing mediocre blogs that get no traffic is a cool thing to do) and I lost that entry and didn’t bother to repost it. Skåls to that.

At any rate, the image at top belongs to a dude named Claes who takes photographs in southern Sweden and then uploads them at while the one below showing Ask and Embla’s Sölvesborgian context is, typically, from wikipedia.

Odin’s Stuck on the Wall at Oslo City Hall

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Ole One-Eyed’s looking mighty impressive from his nook among the bricks of Oslo’s City Hall. Despite the label that Thought and Memory are leading him off into the land of the “twilight forest” he appears to be fastened well in place and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Sucks for him, but at least the rest of us can marvel at his colorfully-rendered, wooden glory. And, apparently, his is just one in a series of panels by Dagfin Werenskiold depicting scenes of Norse mythology at Oslo City Hall.

There’s something pretty badass about prominently displaying a scene of Ragnarok’s fire and carnage on the facade of the same building where the Nobel Peace Prize is annually awarded. Those Norwegians must like to think outside the box.

Longships + Wellness

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

This guy Olav Bjørnerud is my kind of artist. He doesn’t just sit around bemoaning via an obscure website/blog about how Vikings and their artwork have been in decline since 1066. No, instead he sees a space that lacks a Viking-related sculpture and then he goes and makes one with wonderful craftmanship. And then he gets it put on display. I find that highly commendable.

His piece, Strake is the first Viking ship inspired sculpture at Lawrence University, a school whose mascot is a Viking. For more info, you can check out this article about how the school awarded him the opportunity to create the sculpture for their wellness center. You can also visit his own site to see more images and other works.

The images shown here belong to him and Leslie Walfish.

Eastern Geatish Street Art

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Who doesn’t like some good old-fashioned Geatish street art? Especially when said good old-fashioned Geatish street art greets you on your way to visit ancient Geatish rock carvings of boners and longships (see post below)? I think my point is made. Hail to A CanZlit, whoever that may be.

Raise a Horn to the New Year’s Winter Darkness

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

So I’m not very big on timely, punctual, or even consistent blog updates, but I am big on depictions of majestic northern landscapes, especially if they feature Viking ships plowing the waters under what I presume to be the aurora borealis. Or maybe it’s meant to be the midnight sun, I’m not really sure, and that’s besides the point. The point is: here’s a badass Nicholas Roerich painting for you to look at and help you get psyched for the coming long haul of bleak winter cold and darkness now that the holiday festivities are over:

And just to clarify who this Nicholas Roerich fellow was, those of you who are more versed in 100-year old Viking-inspired artwork might recognize this one:

That one shows a bunch of Varangians sailing down from Sweden or perhaps one of their colonies at Staraya Ladoga or Novgorod on their way to Miklagård or maybe just do a little something like establish the foundations of the country of Russia as we now know it.

Anyway, Roerich was well known for his paintings, along with other philosophical-type works, and was referenced in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, which is a fact that ought to appeal to fans of his fantastical tales (especially those living in the New England area). And while we’re on the topic of fantastical tales and Varangian adventures, it seems only appropriate to also promote this little, old-time ditty:

Heimdall Blows

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

When Heimdall blows his horn it can only mean one of two things: the world is coming to a terrible, violent end and you might as well give up on whatever it is that you’re doing because you’re about to be set on fire, or you’re in central Stockholm on your way to Djurgården where, instead of flames, there happens to be lots of trees. I suppose the imagery of both scenarios is pretty cool even though the experiences themselves are drastically different.

Anyway, Heimdall hangs out with Odin, Frigg, Freya, and Thor on the Djurgården Bridge. It’s a pretty a nice bridge, designed by Carl Fraenell just before the turn of the 20th century and therefore is full of pomp and splendor. I like how the photo, taken by J.A. Alcaide nonetheless appears ominous.

More on the gods of Djurgårdsbron here: Djurgårdsbron: Where Silent Gods Stand Guard.

Victorious March!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

I’m not sure whether this painting is saying, “We are coming to destroy everything in our path!” or “We have just destroyed everything in our path!”, but either way, if this isn’t a victorious march of some sort, then I don’t know what is. John Charles Dollman wasn’t dicking around when he painted these Vikings 100 years ago. He imbued them with noble glory, and that glory still lives on today, even though most people don’t even know it exists. There’s a lot to lament about in that statement, but rather than spiral downward into an eternal pit of despair, why don’t we take a look at another victorious march while we’re on that topic:

Or this one, which is what inspired me to post an entry relating to victorious marches today of all days anyway in the first place. It just goes to show, that in some cases, despair is not always eternal!

(I pilfered the photo from the Boston Globe’s honorable photo montage.)

Fenrir was Bound on Asköy

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Remember how Loki got really wild one night—even by his standards—with a giantess, who then ended up giving birth to a wolf and two other monsters? And how that wolf then grew and grew and grew till the gods finally feared him so much that they made the decision to shackle him down on an island far away? Well, I had not realized, but in the twentieth century, the sculptor Arne Vinje Gunnerud tried his own hand in the binding of Fenrir, on the island of Asköy near Bergen in Norway. And I’d say he succeeded quite well. He probably didn’t even lose an appendage in the process, and that is worthy of a mighty skål indeed.

The Saga of Biôrn

Friday, April 1st, 2011

I discovered this video while browsing the web for matters of importance and came across it over at the Norse and Viking Ramblings blog. The video itself though is a student project made by members of the class of 2011 at The Animation Workshop in Denmark, and it’s about Biôrn’s quest to enter Valhalla. It is only 7 minutes long and you will both laugh and weep during the course of its glorious playback.

Hail to the graduating students at The Animation Workshop!

Valentine’s Day Romance: Epic Norse Slaughter

Monday, February 14th, 2011

No, not that kind of romance. There are no hearts to be found here, unless you count the kind that have been brutally carved out of the chest cavity in the midst of unstoppable berserker rage. That’s right, we’re talking about the national romanticism kind of romance that was popular back in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.

One Norwegian guy, Gerhard Munthe, was pretty into Norse history back in those days and he glorified the epic naval Battle of Hjørungavåg in this mighty tapestry, now housed at Norway’s National Museum of Decorative Arts. Thousands of Norwegians and Jomsvikings were slaughtered and the sea off the coast of Sunnmøre turned red with their blood. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that.

The Realistic Old Norse Art of Howard David Johnson

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Here’s a badass image of Beowulf standing in front of Heorot, fantasizing about all the various ways in which he might brutally slay Grendel:

This little bit of artistic glory comes courtesy of Howard David Johnson, a contemporary artist specializing in mixed media who often chooses historical epics and myths as his themes of choice. In fact, his website features a whole page devoted exclusively to his work based on Norse mythology, and you should probably go visit it if you enjoy that sort of thing. Some of the pieces may not be as compelling as others, but there are enough cool ones to make it a fun place to browse. Here’s another that I like a lot, called Kreimhilde’s Revenge, based on the Volsunga Saga/Nibelungenlied:

Loki in the Buff

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Check out this crazy painting by Mårten Eskil Winge of Loki’s punishment for being a dick (and while we’re on that topic, let me just say I approve of Winge’s decision to obstruct Loki’s dong with his thigh; good call there):

Winge is actually more famous for this painting he did of Thor beating some giant ass with his mighty hammer, but I also like this painting of Loki’s punishment. I think Winge did a good job of capturing Loki’s insanity and the snake is pretty cool. I do kind of wish however that he had a scar from the venom dripping on him each time Sigyn has to go and empty her pan, but maybe he does and it’s just hard to tell viewing it on a computer screen.

Seducer of Haunting Swedish Wave Maidens

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Back in the 1800s this Swedish guy Nils Blommér got really good at painting images from Norse mythology and folklore, like the one above, which features a näcken (Swedish for neck, which in turn is apparently the English term for a male nixie) surrounded by the daughters of Aegir. I think it gives us a pretty good idea of the sort of eerie, moonlit recreational activity that the old näcken and certain wave maidens enjoy partaking in. Needless to say, that’s some pretty hardcore strumming that’s going on there.

There unfortunately doesn’t seem to be a good, quality source about Blommér online, but check out these other works of his on wikipedia because they are also worthy of your attention.

Thor Goes Fishing at Mariatorget

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

See that? Thor’s holding his mighty hammer up above his bushy red head, getting ready to bring it crashing downwards into the Midgård Serpent’s godforsaken skull, all because that’s simply what Thor does when he goes fishing with giants. But alas, he isn’t perfect, and he lets this catch get away. Serpents are slippery bastards and giants can never be trusted. …Hail onwards »

Medieval Magical Mystery Tour

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Roll up, roll up, roll up for the medieval magical mystery tour! The medieval magical mystery tour’s Vikings are dying to take you and everything that you hold dear away…

So I just had a chance to see this quirky, little animated movie with a neat visual style called The Secret of Kells. The plot is about the writing of the Book of Kells and is set against a medieval backdrop of Irish monasticism and mythology, dark and magical Irish forests, and, best of all, the omnipresent threat of bloodthirsty Vikings.

Yes, that’s right, this medieval magical mystery tour has got everything you need, so satisfaction is…mostly guaranteed. Turns out that the Vikings here are portrayed as horned demons with gray beards. Oh, the indignity of such misrepresentative animation! Why couldn’t these Vikings have had blond or even red beards like they’re supposed to?