01 work, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, ART OF WAR, “Blenda” Warrior Woman, with Footnotes #146

Henry Zaidan
3 min readFeb 27, 2024
August Malmström (1829–1901)
Blenda advises the women of Värend to revenge the pillaging of the Danes, c. 1860

Oil on canvas
Height: 100 cm (39.3″); Width: 120 cm (47.2″)
Smålands museum, Växjö, Sweden

Blenda is the heroine of a Swedish legend (Blendasägnen) from Småland. Blenda led the rural women of Värend in an attack on a pillaging Danish army and annihilated the invaders.

According to the legend, the events took place in the time of Alle, King of the Geats, when this king led the Geats in an attack against Norway. King Alle had marshalled not only the West Geats, but also the South Geats of Småland, and so many men had left for Norway that the region was virtually defenseless.

When the Danes learned of Småland’s precarious situation, they took advantage of it and attacked the defenseless small lands. Blenda was a woman of noble descent. She decided to send the fiery cross to rally all the womenfolk in the hundreds of Konga, Albo, Kinnevald, Norrvidinge and Uppvidinge. The women armies assembled on the Brávellir

The women approached the Danes and told them how much they were impressed with the Danish men. They invited the men to a banquet where they were provided with food and drink. After a long evening, the Danish warriors fell asleep and the women killed every single one of them with axes and staffs.

When King Alle returned, he bestowed new rights on the women. They acquired equal inheritance with their brothers and husbands, the right always to wear a belt around their waists as a sign of eternal vigilance, the right to beat the drum at weddings, and so forth. More on Blenda

Johan August Malmström (14 October 1829–18 October 1901) was a Swedish painter. As an artist, he was known for his country motives often featuring children. His most widely recognized work is Grindslanten (1885) featuring a typical scene from 19th century Sweden. Influenced by the national romanticism of Gothicismus, he also collected motives from Norse mythology.

Malmström served as a professor at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts and later manager of the same institution. Malmström was also an illustrator who worked for several newspapers and book publishing houses. Additionally, Malmström designed furnitures, worked as a pattern drawer and was a designer for Gustavsberg porcelain. More on Johan August Malmström

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Henry Zaidan

In my Blog is an Online collection of significant paintings from the 1st century to today; complete with art-history and artist bibliographies.