Fate | 1900-1927

"The knight that rides down his fellow man is accompanied by the ghost he himself awakened whith violence, it sits behind him on the exhausted horse, reminding him of the debt he must pay."

This is the way in which Einar Jonsson describes the narrative of Fate. The first draft of the work was created in 1900 but it remained incomplete until he moved permanently to Iceland years later. His statement points to the subject as a look into moral nature, one concerning mans responsibility for his own actions.  To give his ideas form he sought inspiration in Nordic mythology, mainly the myth of the witches of fate, Urður, Verðandi and Skuld. Inspiration from this Nordic mythology can be juxtaposed with the awakening of nationalism in northern Europe towards the end of the 19th century, which influenced many of the artists during that time.

A fallen horse struggling to rise is depicted in Fate. In front of its forelegs lies a lifeless body of a man. The rider sits on the back of the horse and it is apparent that it is he who has caused the death of the other. A shrouded creature sits behind the rider and whispers into his ear. This creature may be interpreted as Skuld, the witch of fate, and she reminds the rider that he has a debt to pay for his actions. The opposite lines in this work emphasize the different driving forces; on one hand the will to keep going, not to look back and to feel no remorse, and on the other hand the reminder of taking responsibility for ones own actions.