This painting, by Carl Larsson, showing a Winter Solstice sacrifice, was intended for the Stockholm National Museum. It was meant to present a winter motif from heathen times, and was named Midvinterblot — 'blot' being an ancient term for a sacrificial ceremony.
The artist explained: "Here a king is being sacrificed for the weal of the people (to ensure a good harvest year). He was drowned in the sacred well at the root of the tree . . ."
The idea of the sacrifice appealed to Larsson—showing a king who tosses his furs aside and in nakedness stands ready to die voluntarily for the good of his people.
The problem was that no such event was to be found recorded in any historical resource, causing the painting to be a source of negative controversy.
Thank you for this. Larsson was a masterful watercolorist, and his sense of composition was remarkable.
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