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Odin, the Allfather




Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn, Wóden in Old English) is one of the most complex and enigmatic characters in Norse mythology. He’s the chief of the Aesir tribe of deities, yet he often ventures far from their kingdom, Asgard, on long, solitary wanderings throughout the cosmos on purely self-interested quests. He’s a relentless seeker after and giver of wisdom, but he has little regard for communal values such as justice, fairness, or respect for law and convention. He’s the divine patron of rulers, and also of outcasts. He’s a war-god, but also a poetry-god, and he has prominent transgender qualities that would bring unspeakable shame to any traditional Norse/Germanic warrior. He’s worshiped by those in search of prestige, honor, and nobility, yet he’s often cursed for being a fickle trickster. 

In modern popular culture, Odin is often portrayed as being an eminently honorable ruler and battlefield commander (not to mention impossibly muscular), but to the ancient Norse, he was nothing of the sort. In keeping with his associations with sovereignty, Odin doesn’t generally concern himself with average warriors, preferring instead to lavish his blessings only on those whom he deems to be worthy of them. He maintains particularly close affiliations with the berserkers and other “warrior-shamans” whose fighting techniques and associated spiritual practices center around achieving a state of ecstatic unification with certain ferocious totems animals, usually wolves or bears, and, by extension, with Odin himself, the master of such beasts. He is often accompanied by his animal companions— the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and Odin rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. The weekday name Wednesday derives from the Old English name of the god: 'Woden's day'.

Sourcenorse-mythology.org/gods-and-c… and Wikipedia

Painted for my aunt's sixtieth birthday and heavily based on a linen placemat depicting Odin she gifted us a long time ago. Spent much of my childhood breakfasts fawning over the pretty picture. I plan to then print this on a placemat as a present for her birthday. You know, for shits and giggles. Though the comedic value sort of hinges on the question whether or not she even remembers or recognizes the design. She's also an artist, so here's to hoping she won't immediately zero in on all the issues with it. Original design can be found here: sta.sh/0111rxk08vks I have no idea who to credit as the labelling has faded beyond legibility over time.

On a personal note: I'm still alive! I don't paint much these days. And I probably won't for another year or so, because I'm off to study in China for a year! (So excited) This was kinda a big test for me. To see if I could still finish a painting that is. Is it too dark? I have a feeling it is. It always is. Let me know. Curse me and my big penchant for dramatic high-contrast lighting. Also: not lore-accurate since I based the design almost entirely on the placemat. No black/blue cloak, floppy hat and long gray beard. Sorry ;P


Time Taken: FOREVER (60-70 hours)
Tools Used: PS CS5, Wacom Intuos 4
Credits: My brother's left arm, the horse (jousting) gear as seen on the TV show Merlin, rooster82's amazing chainmail brush www.deviantart.com/art/Chainma…, Vendel spear reproduction www.kp-art.fi/jt/keihaat/keiha…
Image size
6000x4000px 69.68 MB
© 2015 - 2023 Vyrilien
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elmsi's avatar
First time I've seen Sleipnir with six front legs and two backlegs. It's usually even (Four and four). Very cool :)

Edit: Just realized that it only has six legs in total. Still cool but... not accurate.