The Swedish National Museum is under fire for attaching “warning labels” to classic pieces of art, tipping viewers off about the dangerous “nationalism,” racism, and “patriarchal gender roles” apparently hidden on canvas.
From reimagining its viking warriors as “transgender” to hanging homosexual art in its churches, to declaring its own history “copied,” Swedish society has apparently committed itself to a full-throttle woke makeover in recent years. The Swedish National Museum in Stockholm is no different.
Since it reopened in 2018, audiences soon noticed new, “politicized” labels on paintings. Archaeologist Leif Gren reviewed them last week in an opinion piece for Vestmanlands Lans Tidning, concluding that museum officials weren’t letting visitors “think for themselves.”
Gustaf Cederström’s world-famous painting ‘Bringing Home the Body of King Carl XII of Sweden’, for example, is accompanied by a miniature social sciences treatise stating: “The populist and nationalist view of Swedishness, which is used politically today, is based on the idea of a statically idealised and constructed past. The idea that there is a historical time and place to look back on, where everything was in a certain way, is not true.”
Heaven forbid the audience would see the procession of royal banners in the painting and feel a stirring of patriotism.
Anders Zorn’s ‘Midsummer Dance’, which depicts peasants dancing in a field, gets a “warning for nationalism.” Yet the warnings don’t stop at depictions of country life. Even paintings of Sweden’s wild landscapes are apparently rife with nationalism. One realistic landscape painting is described as “an almost unreal idyll,” while another – this one depicting a cascading waterfall – is described as using “powerful nature” as “part of a nationalist movement.”