Midvinterblot back in place

By on February 21, 2018
Anna Danielsson/Nationalmuseum

Carl Larsson’s powerful Midvinterblot is now back in its place in the National Museum’s upper staircase. The painting was taken down for the renovation of the museum almost five years ago and has since been magazineed. When the museum opens on October 13th, visitors will again be able to look forward to the huge painting.

There were about 20 employees from the museum to conserve the painting and get it in place. The painting consists of two tablecloths and measures a total of 6.4 x 13.6 meters. Preparations have been on for several weeks when conservators and carpenters have reviewed both painting and framing. In addition, conservators and artisans have improved the mounting of the frame in front of the suspension on the wall.

– The most important thing with our conservation has been to ensure with a reversible method a fitting that will last for many years to ensure that the painting can be displayed safely, says Anne-Grethe Slettemoen, head of the conservation unit at the National Museum.

Midvinterblot is one of the most discussed works by the artist Carl Larsson. It was the last part of the suite of murals that he performed at the National Museum in 1896. The motif is from Swedish ancient history and shows the mythical king Domalde to sacrifice to greet the gods and remedy a perennial miscarriage in the country. Already the first sketch got criticism, among other things, not to be historically correct. Carl Larsson decided to finish the work yet and was tested at the National Museum for the first time in 1915. The painting was then debated at government level and finally refused.

After Carl Larsson’s death in 1919, the painting was stored on what is today called Skissernas Museum in Lund. 1983-84, Midvinterblot was renovated and exhibited at the Historical Museum in Stockholm. After that, it was bought by a Swedish art dealer who offered the National Museum the work, but the then museum leadership refused no. Even the Historical Museum was offered the painting but had to thank no because of the high price. In 1987, it was auctioned and acquired by a Japanese collector. The owner lent the work to the great Carl Larsson exhibition at the National Museum in 1992 when it was restored to its original location. After long negotiations and generous financial support from private donors and foundations, the painting was finally acquired for National Museum in the summer of 1997, where it lasted until May 2013 when it was taken for renovation.

Helena Olofsson, Culture & Music | Stockholm