Dr. Julius Naue
(1835-1907)
THE LOST MASTERPIECES
"Das Schicksal der Götter
nach der Deutschen Heldensage"

The Fate of the Gods from the German Heroic Saga
A Watercolor Fresco Cycle
and
"Helgi und Sigrun"
—A Series of Seven Tempera Pictures—
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A Portrait of the Artist

Julius Naue (1835–1907) was a German painter, illustrator and archaeologist primarily known for his illustrations of archaeological subjects and historic Germanic costumes. He also executed at least three murals based on Nordic myth and legend in private homes.  At present, these works appear to be lost leaving few traces in the public record, other than detailed descriptions of those works in Paul Hermanowski's  Die Deutsche Götterlehre und ihre Verwertung in Kunst und Dichtung, Volumes 1-2 "The German  Mythology and its Use in Art and Poetry" (1874).

As a student of August von Kreling, Julius Naue came to work for Moritz von Schwind in Munich where he remained until 1866. During this time, he produced "The Nordic Saga" (watercolor, 1864) among other works. After his master's death in the late 1860s, Naue executed a third variant of Schwind’s Cinderella cycle, presenting  his audience with six monumental paintings retelling the gripping story of Cinderella, her brave suffering and glorious redemption.  He has also made etchings and drawings for woodcuts after Moritz von Schwind.  


1854 Moritz von Schwind
 Das Märchen vom Aschenbrödel
('The Fairy-tale of Cinderella")

In 1868, the brother of the German poet Hermann Lingo, a wealthy merchant, privately commissioned Naue to adorn Villa Ling in Lindau on Lake Constance, with eight frescoes, seven feet in height, representing "Rome (Roma)," "Germany (Germania),'' and the Hero-kings of the Migration period, including "Alaric at Rome," "Odoacer surrendering Ravenna to Theodoric," "the Frank, Chlodwig," "the Lombard, Alboin," and other chief personages and events of that era.


1872 Red pencil drawing of Amalasuntha,
Daughter of the East-Gothic King, Theoderich
the Great

Julius Naue for Moritz von Schwind
Illustration for Schloss Hohenschwangau

In 1872-1873, Naue executed  a Prometheus-cycle in watercolor, and in 1873-74, he painted Schwind's Cinderella in the ballroom of the Roman house in Leipzig  in wax colors. In 1873, the deluxe edition of Eduard Mörike's Historie af den schönen Lau ("The Story of the lovely Lau") appeared with Naue's outline etchings for illustrations designed by Moritz von Schwind. In 1874, he spent the winter in Rome.

    
Compositions of Moritz von Schwind for Eduard Mörike's "The Story of the lovely Lau."
After
the outline etchings of Julius Naue (1868)

From 1874 to 1877, he completed, "the large and very lovely" Fresco cycle: "Das Schicksal der Götter nach der Deutschen Heldensage" ("The Fate of the Gods from the German Heroic Saga") in the private home of the wealthy merchant Arnold Otto Meyer in Hamburg. The series consisted of 11 sections with lunettes, stichkappes and zwickels overtop the main frescos. The work was begun by Naue in watercolor during his stay in Born in 1874, then realized in 1877 for Arnold Otto Meyer. Although no known pictures of this work survive, the scope of the fresco cycle can be reconstructed from a description it in Die Deutsche Götterlehre und ihre Verwertung in Kunst und Dichtung, Volume 1 (see below). 

In 1879, Naue also executed seven tempera paintings from the Germanic epic "Helgi and Sigrun" in von Flotow's castle in Mecklenburg, including images of the Nordic gods.  A description of this work  from Hermanowski's artbook can also be found below. 

As an archaeologist, Naue held a presentation on prehistoric swords (Die prähistorischen Schwerter), specifically Bronze Age swords, for the Anthropological Society in Munich in 1884. The "Naue" type of Bronze Age swords is named in his honour. Self-taught, Naue published various smaller treatises for which he proceeded to compile in a dissertation at Tübingen University in 1887, Die Hügelgräber zwischen Ammer- und Staffelsee. He also planned a multi-volume work on "The Bronze Age in Upper Bavaria" (Die bronzezeit in Oberbayern), but only published the first volume in 1894.

At the age of 71, the artist and archaeologist Julius Naue died on 14 March 1907 in Munich. 


 THE LOST MASTERPIECES
Das Schicksal der Götter
nach der Deutschen Heldensage (1877)
—The Fate of the Gods from the German Heroic Saga—
      "A large and very lovely Fresco-cycle"

Arnold Otto Meyer's private home, held a collection of art, drawings by artists of the 18th century from the collection of his grandfather Johann Valentin Meyer which he had inherited, and works by contemporary artists of the 19th century, whom he knew personally, including Overbeck, Veit, Führich, Genelli, Koch, Reinhard, Preller, Ludwig Richter, Peschel, Morgenstern, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Jacob Gunther, Martin Gensler, Charles and John Gehrts, Julius Naue, Neureuther, Anselm Feuerbach, and Moritz von Schwind.  At the time of Schwind's death, Meyer had over 200 of his drawings.

From 1875 to 1877, Schwind's pupil, Dr. Julius Naue of Munich, completed his series of frescos,  "Das Schicksal der Götter nach der Deutschen Heldensage" ("The Fate of the Gods from the German Heroic Saga"), depicting the lives of the Germanic gods from the beginning to the end and their resurrection, on the interior walls of Meyer's home, Die Villa Hauhopen in Hamburg-Othmarschen, Heubergskamp, built in 1872.

Die Villa Hauhopen or Die Haus Hauhopen
The personal residence of Arnold Otto Meyer

The work contained 11 main painted panels, as well as accompanying art in the stichkappe and zwickels above the scenes. The work itself appears to have been lost, perhaps in war.
Unfortunately, no photos or drawings of this work have survived. The accompanying pictures are only intended to give an idea of Naue's style. The following is a description of the work from 1891:

In a semi-circle above the frieze, the three Norns sit. Verdandi writes on a golden shield. Urd looks back, holding onto the writing. To the right Skuld, the youngest, holds an unwritten shield.

The frieze itself begins on the left with a painting of Hel. The mistress of the underworld sits in front of a cave entrance in a dark robe, her face grim, eagerly awaiting the arrival of new, silent guests.  Her staff is to the left of her and a red-brown cock roosts a little higher on a stone.
    
Julius Naue, Historical Artist and Archaeologist
A Reconstruction of Historic
Costume:
The Germans 
(1894)
   
The Older Bronze Age  The Chieftain  The Younger Bronze Age

The next picture shows the joyous Aesir in the Age of Innocence, when they lived without restrainst and without longing. They play games on the serene Ida-field and throw lots for prophecy. We now see in the picture, the Aesir at their favorite ball games; Baldur the beautiful looks on. Right of Odin, occupying the center of the group, Thor sits with red hair and beard. Loki, sits to the far left. He listens and looks off into the distance, where three giantesses, the three weird sisters, approach with an evil gift, the gold. 

On the next painting, the Aesir are sorrowful and afraid before the strange gift that Verdandi reveals to them. But Odur, who dwells with the gods because he has married Freyja, looks over with greed at the shiny commodity. Loki fans his greed even more.

Together with Loki, Odur now tries to steal the treasure. The Norn, Skuld, catches him and leads him while Loki falls to the ground, atoning for his crime. This is the subject of the fourth image.

Odur had chosen the night for his plans. In the early morning, as Freyja wakes up, she finds her husband gone. Wailing, she raises her hands up over her head. Loki, the evil one, is bent on further misdeeds.
  
Julius Naue
Historical Costume Drawing; Hallstatt Period

The most handsome and most beloved of the Aesir is Baldur, blameless and pure of mind. And yet, he will be first of the gods to die. Bad dreams warned him that he will die soon. His mother Frigg takes oaths from all things and beings not to harm her son— all except a small mistletoe shrub that grew on an old oak tree, that she had  taken as too young and too weak to recite an oath. Loki learned of this. To the delight of the gods, Baldur always remains unharmed whenever they shot at him with spears. Loki reached Baldur's brother, the blind but strong Hödur, whom Frigg also bore to Odin.  Loki has the mistletoe made ​strong by his magic, and invites Baldur's brother to offer him honor, as everyone else does, and to shoot at him. He directs Hödur's aim and Baldur falls to the ground dead with an arrow to his heart as shown in the sixth image. His wife Nanna also dies. Grief rips through her body. Horrified, Frigg tears her hair. The gods and goddesses are crying. Thor raises his hand, threatening Loki.

Loki flees full of malicious glee. But Odin, Thor and Heimdall track him. Hidden away in a waterfall, they find him. But then he escapes as a salmon into the water. Thor grabs it and holds him in spite of all his curling and bucking. The seventh picture illustrates this.

The following picture shows Loki's punishment. He is tied to a piece of rock. He lies there in his actual form, a venom-dripping snake hung above his head. Standing next to him, his wife Sigyn kneels over his face holding a bowl to catch the poison drops. So he lies until the twilight of the gods.

Julius Naue for Moritz von Schwind
Illustration for Schloss Hohenschwangau (1864)

The final battle can be seen on the next painting. The Aesir arm themselves. Heimdall, sitting on the rainbow bridge, hears the cry of the red-brown cock and blows the Gjallarhorn. His red and yellow hair blows about wildly. With one hand he points downward, where giants with fists raised against the gods, already approach, storming the castle. Close beside him is Tyr, the youthful god of war. He grips his sword tighter. Beside him, as the first against the giants, sits Vidar, Odin's avenger. Above Heimdall, Freyja, clad in shield and falcon dress, flies ahead like a Valkyrie to the pending fight. Thor is close behind her, the belt of strength around his waist, the hammer in his iron-gloved right hand, and the left comforting his wife, Sif.  Full of anxiety, she has sunk to her knees. Odin is behind Thor, holding the spear Gungnir upright in his hand.  A helmet covers his white head, and his two ravens sit on his shoulders. To his left, Frigg kneels silently. Gefion holds her head in her bosom. In the background Freyr, also armed with helmet and spear, embraces  his wife Gerda, the daughter of the giant Gymir, farewell. She clings lovingly to him.

Naue does not represent the battle on the Vigrid feld. "Der seligen Götter Wiedersehen in Walhalla" ("The Blessed Gods Farewell to Valhalla") is the title of the last group of images on the frieze. The fiends are cast down forever, the gods are happy again and cheerful as in the time of innocence. On Freyja's hand, we see Odur who was seriously punished for his sacrilege. Bragi, god of poetry, brings back Idun, who as Ragnarok began fell into the dark depths of the night, with the golden apples of the gods. Wreaths surround Bragi's gray head. Baldur, who is kneeling in front of Idun, receives the first rejuvenating gift from the goddess' hand, at the request of Nanna, who is next to him. Freyr and Gerda, who are next, approach, as Sif and Tyr, are next in the background. Ægir the old, who has leisurely taken a seat at the table looks upon them benevolently, as well as the Queen of Heaven Frigg, who now wears a crown, and Vidar. Odin, carrying his scepter sits on his high seat at the head of the table, while Thor, sitting opposite to Ægir, dedicates the cup in his hand as a welcoming drink. His left hand lifts the cup high, the right holds a pitcher.


The Hero-Kings of the Migration Period
Villa Ling (1868)

As the frieze began with Hel, the daughter of the jötun-woman Angurboda, so too it ends with the image of a giant, namely Hräsvelger, who sits on a rock towering into the clouds, causing the storm winds to blow over earth. Big and strong is the construction of his unclothed body.

zwickel——
(Triangular piece)








 
 


Above the frieze are small pictures painted in the lunettes and stichkappes, which further explain and compliment the images of the frieze below. The first lunette on the left above the image of Hel shows "Night," not driving in a car over the earth, but as a semi-veiled female figure in a sitting position.

Then in the zwickel follows "Saga," like "Night," who is youthful with a flowing veil. She holds a scroll resting on her right leg. She reaches down and writes with a pen in her right hand.

The next lunette shows us "the Old Woman in the Ironwood" as she feeds Fenrir's brood. The gods had chained the Fenris Wolf, but they forgot its offspring— the wolves Sköll and Hati, reared by a giantess in the iron forest to devour the sun and moon. The two creatures greedily devour bones,  which she puts in their mouths.

On the following zwickel, which is above the second painting, we see Frigg, Odin's wife. She has golden hair.  In her right hand, she holds a  scepter. Jewelry adorns her neck.

The next lunette shows the giant Egdir (Eggthir) with the harp.

Julius Naue for Moritz von Schwind
Illustration for Schloss Hohenschwangau (1864)

In the following zwickel, we find Frigg shown with her foremost servant Fulla. She keeps the goddess' jewelry-box and tends to her footwear. Therefore, she kneeds at the feet of her mistress.

The next lunette shows Mimir and his sons. He sits at the well of primeval wisdom, drinking the holy water every day, multiplying his knowledge. Odin himself came to Mimir, who gave him a drink from the fountain of wisdom, in exchange for one of his eyes in pledge. From the crescent-shaped horns, which Mimir uses to draw water, he drinks. His three sons, their heads wreathed with reeds, lift him half out of the water.

Now follows in the zwickel "Holda, the Spinner." In the north, in Sweden, Frigg, the goddess of marriage and the hearth, is both the teacher and patron of spinning. Still in the mouths of the people, the three stars which form the belt of the constellation of Orion, are known as "Frigg's distaff." In central Germany, the goddess is called Holda or Frau Holle.  In her left hand she holds the distaff, while holding the coil of thread in her right.

In the next zwickel, "Holda, the protector of the unborn child" is represented. A number of small beings wriggle on her bosom, and she waves a large cloth over her head, to protect the little ones. She was the protector of the unborn or prematurely deceased children. She waits in the depth of wells and lakes where she has gardens and meadows. Still today we hear of fountains and lakes from which the stork or in Low German the "child-bringer" brings up the children's souls, as they enter into the physical world.

Holda lived in wells and lakes. And so, in the next zwickel,  Naue shows "Holda climbing down into her bath." No robe envelops her limbs, but almost to her feet, her yellow hair wraps about her. Happily, she combs it after her bath.

Between the first and second zwickel is a picture of Holda.


Julius Naue
 
Sage von Krötenring (1865)
The Story of the Toad-Ring

The lunette represents how the giant robbed the sleeping  Thor of his hammer. To the left, we see Thor and his wife Sif napping, while on the right, the giant Thrym holds the dreaded hammer in his right hand, and scornfully waves goodbye with the other.

T
he next morning, Thor and with him all of the Aesir  are shocked and dismayed. If they lack this formidable weapon, they will soon be powerless against the giants. Loki, equipped with Freyja’s falcon dress, spots the robber, who welcomes him into Jotunheim without haste. He had stolen the hammer, and to Loki's inner joy, because he only desires evil for the Aesir. The giant adds that he will return it only on the condition that the Aesir give him Freyja as wife. "Loki by the giants" (Loki beim Riesen) therefore is the name of this new stitchkappe.

The following shows how Thor is adorned as a bride by the gods and goddesses in Freyja's gowns. Since Freyja most emphatically refuses to be the giant's wife, Thor himself must drive to Thrym disguised as Freyja. Loki goes with him as a maid.

The marriage will be blessed, as was the custom, with the hammer. Thrym barely lays Mjöllnir in the bosom of the bride,  when Thor grabs the weapon and slays the giant and his clan. "Thor smashed the giant and his sister" (Thor zerschmettert den Riesen n. seine Schwester) is therefore the name of this lunette. Loki looks indifferent to this spectacle, sitting next to Thor.

In the zwickel between these two stichkappes are shown "Freyja, the
goddess of love, and her handmaidens" (Freyja, die Göttin der Liebe, und ihre Dienerinnen). Three young women are busy by their seated mistress. The one on the left turns her radiant necklace Brisingamen; the one on the right does her hair, and behind them, a third, holds up a bowl.

In the next zwickel follows "Freyja equipped as the leader of the Valkyries," (Freyja als Anführerin der Walküren).  A breastplate covers her chest. In her right hand, she holds a sword high; a helmet covers her head, and falcon wings spread out on both sides of her back.

In the next stitchkappe, we see Baldur sunk down in his bright garb alongside Odin. With his left hand, Baldur supports his head thoughtfully, and points upwards with his right hand to the dreams that have frightened him for some time. He tells this to Odin, who seems to calm and comfort him.

In the zwickel, we find  Freyja, her hands raised plaintively, floating through all the worlds searching for her lost husband Odur.

Julius Naue for Moritz von Schwind
Illustration for Schloss Hohenschwangau (1864)

The following lunette is called "Thor weist bei Ögir den bösen Loki fort" ("Thor, at Aegir's, drives the evil Loki away").  At a recent drinking feast at Ægir's — he annually gave the gods a feast — Loki abused each of the Aesir, heaping guilt and shame on them until Thor came and threateningly drove the toxic blasphemer away.

Loki now bears revenge and misfortune in his heart. In the next stitchkappe, we see the the mistletoe, Baldur's destroyer.

On the previous zwickel, we saw Gefion, the virginal "Goddess of Innocence,"  who like the gods, namely Frigg and Sif and Odin and Thor, have come to comfort Nanna, grieving for her murdered husband Baldur.

But all  consolation is in vain. The following stitchkappe shows how Nanna, once the pyre is built and Baldur is placed on it, falls onto it in the middle of the flames.

In the next zwickel, we see "Syn, the goddess of silence." She has a long robe and a veil over her head. She holds the index finger of her right hand up to her mouth as a sign of silence. The seated figure holds a large set of keys over her bosom.

On the following stichkappe is "How Thor petrified the dwarf Alwis at sunrise," ["Wie Thor bei aufgehender Sonne den Zwerg Alwis versteinert"]. He was a wise, gold-rich ruler in Swartalfaheim. When he once came to Asgard, he was well received by the Aesir. Because his great wealth, power and knowledge was probably was known to them. Seeing the magnificent Thrud, Thor's daughter, and burning with love, he wanted to marry her. The connection with the underground treasures of the kings seemed good to the Aesir, and because they thought that Thor would have no objection have, the day of the wedding was set. However, as Thor, who was away on a journey, returned and he refused to give his consent to the marriage. When the dwarf persisted, Thor demanding samples of his wisdom,  asked questions. But the more Thor asked, the more the dwarf could answer, until at the break of day, touched by the bright rays of the sun, Alvis turned to stone. In the picture, you can now see his head and beard and torso solidify. The lower part is already turned to stone.

In the next zwickel, Sif, Thor's wife, appears as "goddess of the harvest." She holds a sickle in her left hand, a sheaf of corn in her right hand.

Julius Naue
Architectural Drawing for Villa Ling

The following lunette titled "Allvater bei Mimir Rat holend" ("All-father takes counsel from Mimir") shows Odin by Mimir.
Through Baldur's death and because Loki, his former blood brother, is imprisoned, Odin rides restlessly, knowing Ragnarok lay ahead, to the wise Mimir, to consult with him. His stallion Sleipnir waits impatiently, pawing the ground, while Odin stoops talking to Mimir. Reeds wreath his head, and a water-colored bluish beard flows deep down on his chest.

In the next zwickel, we see "Skadi, Njörder's wife, seen leaving her husband in the icebergs, travels and hunts on ice-skates," (Skadi, Niörders Gemahlin, die fern vom Gatten in die Eisberge zieht, Schlittschuh fährt und jagt). She has a spear in her hand. In Asgard, she won Njord as her husband, the god of summer seas. But she did not wish to dwell in his castle Noatun on the sea-shore where the gulls screamed and sang the swans, nor he in her home Thrymheim, where icebergs loomed and wolves howeled. Nine nights they had stayed here and then nine in Noatun. But even so, they could not stand it. Therefore, they broke their marriage covenant and now each inhabits their usual abode.

The God of the wild sea, Æegir, is shown on the following stichkappe. He is depicted as an old man. Next to him sits his wife Ran. Both tiaras and reeds decorate her hair. Like Poseidon, Ægir holds the trident in his right hand. On either side, two of their daughters stand, naked in contrast to their parents,  each  crowned with reeds. The one on the left holds a jug.

In the next zwickel we see Idun, the goddess of unfading youth, holding the bowl with the rejuvenating apples, out with her right hand. A floral wreath adorns her head.

"The handsome god of light Freyr, who has sat on Odin's high seat, shows his sister Freyja, the goddess of love, the radiant charm of Gerda" ("Dem schönen Lichtgott Freyr, der sich auf Odins Hochsitz gesetzt hat, zeigt seine Schwester Freyja, die Liebesgöttin, die von Anmut strahlende Gerda"),  is the theme of the following stichkappe. Gerda was the daughter of the giant Gymir. She was a dazzlingly beautiful maiden.  Freyr, who had once set on Odin's high seat Hlidskialf from where one could see all the worlds, saw her. In Jotun-home she walked. Her white arms illuminated the air and water.  The image of the maiden remained in Freyr's soul, and deep, marrow -consuming love-sickness seized the youth, who had dared to sit in the place that only the most High must occupy. Profoundly sad, he went along and said nothing. So his anxious father Njord sent Skirnir, one of his most faithful servants, to his son to ask him the reason for his gloom. Freyr finally admitted, how hopelessly he loved Gerda. The Aesir would hardly consent that he woo the daughter of a giant, and that this will have serious consequences and reject him. Then Skirnir volunteered to woo Gerda for him with his steed, which carries its rider even through waferlogi, and his sword, which fights by itself if wielded by a fearless man. Skirnir receives both.

He hurries
now toward Gymir's gard, encircled by a mighty fence, guarded by raging dogs, with a ring of fire surrounding Gerda's dwelling. A shepherd seated on a nearby hill, warns the bold rider against penetrating the wood further. Undismayed, Skirnir spurs the horse with the thundering hoofbeats. The whole of Gymir's  homestead  quakes. Gerda sends a maid from the room to discover the source of the noise. She reports that it is Skirnir and states his errand.

This is the subject of the next Stitchkappe. First Skirnir offers Gerda all kinds of gifts to wrest her consent that she would be Freyr life companion: eleven golden apples, then the gold ring of the dwarves. This we see in the picture, Skirnir it with his right hand, while with his left, he also indicates where in the diatance that Gerda should follow him. A helmet covers his head. The strong sword hangs on his left. But Gerda, shadowed by a handmaiden, makes a defensive move with her right hand. She cannot be bribed with gifts. She will not fear, even violence, for her father will protect her. Skirnir threatens the maiden with magic runes and proclaims evil upon evil for her. Now the maiden, driven by terrible compulsion, changes her mind, and pledges to, in nine nights, by the grove Barri, expect Freyr and give him her love.

The following stichkappe is entitled "Gerda erwartet Freir im Walde Bari" ("Gerda awaits Freyr in the grove Barri")
. There we see the dazzling white Gerda, naked, covered only by her long, golden hair. She sits by water with her feet dangling down, turned toward Freyr. Her right hand longingly reaches out, wrapped in a red robe. The light of a golden diadem halos her head.

Concerning the two zwickels: the first shows the three divine messengers: Heimdall, Bragi, and Loki. Idun, who just before Ragnarök, fell from the shining heights into the cold depths of night. To persuade Hel to return to the gods that which they sought. Heimdall bends toward her, both arms outstrethed. She sits forlorn, her head propped up in her left hand.  Behind Heimdall is Bragi, a staff in his right hand, pleading the case for Idun. In the background, right, is Loki. He pleads with with his right hand outstreched adding more emphasis. At the same time, on Odin's behalf, his messengers should also ask the all-knowing one, if this meant the end of the world and the ruin of the gods. But she gives no answer. Only tears flowed from her clouded eyes. The messengers of the gods appear weak and stunned. Without having achieved their goal, the other two return to Asgard, while Bragi stays with his wife to comfort her.

In the next zwickel, Idun, who is happy again and holds the dish with the apples up to the Aesir as two swallows fly up beside them, proclaiming and bringing a new Spring for the gods.


The next zwickel shows reconciliation and joy: "Frigg leads the veiled Freyja to Odur who has passed his repentance." Joyfully unveiled, Freyja extends the welcome cup to her long lost husband, who is kneeling before her.

The following stichkappe contains Groa's blessing. Her son has summoned the Seer from death's door. He calls out, and she now speaks nine healing charms over him. Their shapes and their faces are hidden in part. With blessings, she spreads her hands over her son, who is sunk down in front of her and leans his head down on his hands, which he has placed crosswise on a stone.

The zwickel also portrays a blessing. "Thor  Blessing Idun's and Bragi's marriage." These two are festively crowned and Thor's hammer lies in consecration over Idun's bosom. As the couple sits in front of him, Thor raises his hands in blessing.  Behind Thor, is Odin. Behind him are two pairs of goddesses.

The inference of the whole cycle is that of the initial image, "Night." Now the last Stitchkappe shows "Day,"  depicted as a man with a flaming torch in one hand and a fluttering, reddish cloth robe.

A single loose drawing from this set appeared in a catalog of drawings in the Arnold Otto Meyer Collection as:

"Aquarelle. Die versammelten nordischen Götter. H. 43, Br. 55 cm. Sepia. Bezeichnet: „Roma. 14. April 1874. J. Naue. 

Watercolor. The gathered Norse gods. Height 43 cm, Width. 55 cm. Sepia. Inscribed: "Rome. April 14, 1874. J. Naue."
     
 "Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla"
After an illustration by J. Naue from 1901

Contributor: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo 
Alamy Stock Photo at Alamy.com

 THE LOST MASTERPIECES
HELGI UND SIGRUN (1879)
—Seven Tempera Pictures from the Eddic Legend—
for the Von Flotow castle in Mecklenburg

The most important gods we find united on one of the seven tempera pictures by which Naue glorified the song of "Helgi and Sigrun" (see I, 104-106) in 1879. "Helgi is brought to the gods by Sigrun" is its signature. We see gods and Einherjar gathered in Valhalla, similar to the types in the paintings of Naue's Edda fresco cycle discussed above.  In the middle sits the white-haired Odin. He holds the spear Gungnir upright in his left hand, while making a welcoming motion with his right hand toward the arriving Helgi. To Odin's right sits Thor, with red hair and beard, more good-natured than terrible-looking. In his left hand Thor holds his hammer firmly on his left knee, with his right hand he waves to the new guest, who is introduced by the garlanded Sigrun. To the left of Odin sits Frigg. Right behind Thor stands Tyr with a winged helmet and spear in his left hand. Beside him sits Bragi, his head garlanded, his right hand gripping a harp. On the right and on the left of this group of gods, singers are standing or sitting at tables, drinking the sweet mead from horns and waving with them to the newcomer, while a Valkyrie, this time without swan-wings, carries a cup with mead to Helgi.

1881 The Return
of Callias and the Arete
Die Rückkehr des Kallias und der Arete

1863 The Swanmaiden
Schwanenjungfran
     
Another tempera-picture shows the sea goddess Ran, and more expressively than depicted in the Edda fresco cycle. Half naked, she rises from the sea, her head surrounded by reeds, her neck adorned with a string of pearls, pushing the waves around her against the ship with Helgi on the bow, raising his hands as if pleading. To the left, above him, Sigrun hovers as a Valkyrie in a swan-dress, helmeted and with a shield, threatening to throw a  battleaxe at Ran, even  as one of the men in the ship seems to raise his sword in opposition to the sea goddess. 

          Valkyries appear on more of the tempera murals, even a Valkyrie ride, where the battle-maidens arrive on their winged steeds as Helgi Hunding's sons fights, shielded by Sigrun, the Valkyrie, who descended to him after the battle when he is safe under the Aarstein, and confesses her love to him.
      
          In another picture we see the Norns. It says: "The Norns bless the child Helgi." In a small cradle beside the four-poster bed of its sleeping mother, slumbers a child. A tired nurse is slumped down in a chair beside his bed, her hands laid over her face.   The three norns approach the cradle, represented by two younger female figures with spindles in thier hands on the left, and one with a wreath in her hair. At the head of the bed is the third and oldest, all but her face hidden by her gown, has the right to bless the child, aided by the two others, who have bared necks and arms adorned with bangles, holding their hands above Helgi. Three flames in a lamp, at the foot of the four-poster bed, illuminate the room.   

If anyone knows of any pictorical remains of these monumental artworks,
please contact me.

    
Prince Hotari (1900)
Stock Photo from Alamy.com

 
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