Antique Painting of Kensington Runestone | Signed 1921
Regular priceSale price
Here we have an antique painting of a scene steeped deep in the consciousness of Minnesotans, Americans, and mystery hunters all over the world. The painting from 1921 depicts the mythology around the Kensington Runestone found near Alexandria, Minnesota in the late 1800s. Ever since the slab of stone with ominous carvings was pulled out from under a tree, the questions of America's origins multiplied.
Before we step into all the history of the event, let's talk about the ominous painting. A Knights Templar (?) soldier stares at the stone sticking out of the ground, with skulls laying around and a crow or vulture closing in. The muted tone plays well with the impending doom of the events.
The small oil on canvas is signed "W. Cornilsen" and dated 1921. I haven't nailed down the full name of the artist. It was likely a regionalist painter. The artwork was acquired in an auction in the Alexandria area. All of this elevates the piece to mythology, so let's step into it.
The Kensington Runestone is a slab of greywacke stone covered in runes that was allegedly discovered in central Minnesota in 1898. Olof Öhman, a Swedish immigrant, reported that he unearthed it from a field in the largely rural township of Solem in Douglas County. It was later named after the nearest settlement, Kensington.
The inscription purports to be a record left behind by Scandinavian explorers in the 14th century (internally dated to the year 1362). There has been a drawn-out debate regarding the stone's authenticity, but since the first scientific examination in 1910, the scholarly consensus has classified it as a 19th-century hoax, with some critics directly charging Öhman with fabrication. Nevertheless there remains a community convinced of the stone's authenticity.
The text translates to:
"Eight Geats and twenty-two Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland to the west. We had camp by two skerries one day's journey north from this stone. We were [out] to fish one day. After we came home [we] found ten men red of blood and dead. AVM (Ave Virgo Maria) save [us] from evil."
"[We] have ten men by the sea to look after our ships, fourteen days' travel from this island. [In the] year 1362."
There are plenty more resources and debates regarding the infamous artifact. Just Google "Kensington Runestone" and you'll be off and running.
The antique painting measures 12 1/2" wide and 8" tall. The painting is showing 100 years of age, with small losses along the edges and light patina throughout. Even though I love the current look of the painting, and cleaning would definitely brighten up the day. Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
I ship FedEx to street addresses in the continental USA only (no PO Boxes). Free shipping on the infamous painting of the Kensington Runestone.
This ominous painting is only a doorway to endless debates and one helluva tale to tell. It checks every single box when looking for the best underground antiques. I'm fine if it never sells.