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Study for "The Death of Baldur" by Charles March Gere


 

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The subject matter of this study is revealed in Gere's inscription, lightly written in pencil across the bottom: "Nothing can hurt Baldur save the mistletoe. The gods amuse themselves with throwing and shouting at him. Loki having made a dart of mistletoe causeth the blind god Hodur to throw it". Gere has taken the opportunity to depict the scene in a medieval forest, demonstrating an interest in mythology and the medieval that had also inspired the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The scene is taken from Norse mythology. The Norse God Baldur [Balder] was son of Odin, chief of the group of gods known as the Aesir, and his queen, Frigg. Balder was the kindest, wisest, most beautiful and most beloved amongst the gods. After he dreamt of mortal danger to his life, his mother Frigg extracted oaths from everything not to harm Baldur - from fire, water, animals, birds, snakes, plants, stones, trees, earth, metals, diseases and poison - all except mistletoe, which was deemed too young to make the oath. As nothing could hurt him, the Aesir gods then found it very amusing to throw things at Baldur. Loki, the God of trickery, knew that mistletoe had not made the oath and fashioned a dart out of it. He then went to the blind god Hod [Hodur] and challenged him to throw a "stick" at Baldur. The mistletoe pierced Baldur's chest and he fell down dead.
Artist:Charles March Gere
Artwork type:drawing
Material:watercolour, pencil and gouache on paper
Measurements:699 x 284 mm
Technique:drawing
Date:1892
Location:BIAD School of Art Archive
Culture:English
Rights owner:BIAD have been unable to trace the copyright owner in this work. The Keeper of Archives would be glad to receive any information concerning ownership of rights in this work. We regret that this image is provided for reference only & reproductions cannot be supplied. For more information please contact the Keeper of Archives at BIAD.
Rights status:The copyright of the artwork is owned by a private individual. The copyright of this digital image is owned by BIAD. We regret that this image is provided for reference only and reproductions cannot be supplied. For more information please contact the Keeper of Archives at BIAD
Institution:Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

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