Midvinter’s sacrifice. National Museum, Sweden.

Since a few weeks back, the English edition of Ilion has a new cover. Readers who have visited the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm will probably notice that the cover has a certain likeness to Carl Larsson’s monumental painting Midvinterblot (Midwinter’s sacrifice), which can be seen in the National Museum’s upper staircase. The museum is currently closed due to renovation but opens in autumn 2018, when Midvinterblot can once again be viewed by all visitors to the museum.

Carl Larsson had previously decorated other walls in the National Museum when he started sketching Midvinterblot, which was supposed to hang in the very staircase where it is now hanging since 1992. But already when Carl Larsson presented his first sketches, the motif of the painting led to debate. The painting was considered anachronistic, too imaginative and did not fit in with the other victorious murals such as Gustav Vasas intåg i Stockholm 1523 (Gustav Vasa enters Stockholm 1523). Instead, Midvinterblot depicts the sacrifice of a pagan king. Carl Larsson drew inspiration for the motif from a myth narrated by Snorri Sturluson, where King Domalde is sacrificed to appease the gods after three years of bad harvests. After a long debate, the painting was finally rejected in 1916 and it would take almost 80 years before Midvinterblot got its permanent place on the wall it was intended for.

Foto: Gunnarsson, Torsten (ed.) (1992). Carl Larsson. Nationalmuseum och Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Stockholm. ISBN 91-7024-764-1. p. 226

Carl Larsson used one of his previous oil paintings of a wrestler and healthcare practitioner named Rudolf Rydberg as a model for King Domalde. It is this sketch that I have been inspired by for the cover of the English edition of Ilion. The reader of Ilion will certainly understand what event in the book that the cover illustrates and it is also the event that made me write the book from the beginning.

The English edition of Ilion is available on Amazon.