Draumkvedet is Norway’s best-known medieval ballad. The story takes place during the dark time of the year. The main protagonist, Olav Åsteson, falls asleep on Christmas Eve only to wake up on the twelfth day of Christmas, Epiphany. In his dream, Olav travels into the afterlife, and in the poem, tells about his experiences on the journey.
From the time when Draumkvedet was ‘discovered’ in Øvre-Telemark and written down in the 1840s, several artists have drawn inspiration from it. One of these is Torvald Moseid (1917–2000), whose monumental embroidery frieze holds a unique position. In the 54-metre-long Draumkvedet (1980–93), Moseid presents his own interpretation of the dream poem. Embroidered by hand, the work draws inspiration from Norwegian folk-art, Byzantine art, and the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry.
In 2016, Moseid’s Draumkvedet was given to Sørlandets Kunstmuseum by the telecommunications company Telenor, along with the work Orpheus and Eurydice (1977–1985), previously deposited in the museum. Moseid was born and raised at Byglandsfjord in Setesdal, and it was therefore natural for two of his chief works to be added to the museum’s collection. We are deeply grateful to Telenor for the gift.