From the century VI to XI developed, especially on the island of Gotland and in the eastern provinces of Sweden, a particular kind of sculpture carried out on stones decorated with inscriptions (runes) or figurative scenes often derived from the Nordic sagas, in a lively and expressive style, even if rude; in the stelae of the last period a very stylized zoomorphic decoration prevails, accompanied by runic writings in the form of spirals. With the conversion of the Swedes to Christianity (11th century) the country started to become, in the main artistic manifestations, a peripheral area of European culture. The most ancient Christian buildings, dating back to the century. XI, were wooden churches (stavkyrkor), with a central square room, according to a typology derived from pagan buildings. Of the first pre-Romanesque stone churches built in Sigtuna, only the ruins remain (S. Per, S. Lars, S. Olov). From these buildings originated the Romanesque architecture of central Sweden, while in western Sweden the sacred building conformed to the Anglo-Saxon architecture of the Norman type. During the century. XII the construction of stone churches increased, of which a notable example is the cathedral of Lund, of the basilica type. An important cultural center was the island of Gotland in the Romanesque age, where numerous small churches (sometimes decorated with interesting reliefs) show the alternation of Lombard influences with other Russian-Byzantine influences. Of the oldest Swedish civil architecture, completely made of wood, nothing has come down to us. Around the middle of the century. According to thereligionfaqs, XII Cistercian monks arrived in Sweden, founding the abbey of Alvastra and subsequently other religious centers, whose architectural structure follows Burgundian models. From these examples substantially derived the Swedish Gothic, developed in the sec. XIII-XIV without characteristics of particular originality. The use of brick began to be placed side by side with that of stone. Among the most important churches are those of St. Peter in Malmö, the Franciscans in Stockholm and the convent of Vadstena, as well as the great cathedrals of Uppsala and Skara. In the late century The oldest preserved non-religious buildings (towers in Stockholm and Kalmar; the walls of Visby; some bourgeois houses) also date back to XIII. If in the early Gothic period sculpture underwent German influence, particularly in the production of the island of Gotland (wooden statues, crucifixes), in the late Gothic we note a greater openness towards French forms and ways, as in the architectural sculptures of the cathedral of Uppsala, the major artistic center in the sec. XIII-XIV. Early Swedish painting, probably limited to frescoes in churches, has been almost completely lost. During the century. XV, while architecture did not experience great developments, notable results were achieved in the figurative arts. In the field of sculpture, still fundamentally linked to German models, the personalities of Bernt Notke and Adam Van Düren, to whom we owe the best portraits of the late Nordic Middle Ages. Of the painting, open to Flemish influences, there are interesting evidences in the decorations of religious buildings and in the realistic work of Albertus Pictor. In the sec. XVI, the Protestant Reformation and the coming to power of Gustavo Vasa caused profound transformations: the court, in fact, which became the main client, favored the introduction of the Renaissance style in Sweden, through Germany and above all the Netherlands. In architecture the construction of castles and palaces was intense, of massive structure, with rich decorations inside (castles-fortresses of Vadstena, Uppsala, Stockholm). The greatest sculptor and architect of the century was the Dutch Willem Boy, who was responsible for numerous works, from the castle and the church of St. James in Stockholm to various funerary sculptures, including the tomb of Gustavo Vasa in the cathedral of Uppsala. In the field of painting, although much has been lost, the sumptuous Mannerist decorations of Kalmar Castle, the work of the Flemish Arendt Lambrechts, and the portrait school of JB Van Uther are worthy of mention. The first half of the century XVII saw the prevalence, in architecture, of a Mannerist style of Dutch derivation (Christian J. Döteber, Hans J. Kristler, Kaspar Panten). Similar influences can be seen in sculpture, where artists like Worthy of mention are the sumptuous mannerist decorations of the castle of Kalmar, the work of the Flemish Arendt Lambrechts, and the portrait school of JB Van Uther. The first half of the century XVII saw the prevalence, in architecture, of a Mannerist style of Dutch derivation (Christian J. Döteber, Hans J. Kristler, Kaspar Panten). Similar influences can be seen in sculpture, where artists like Worthy of mention are the sumptuous mannerist decorations of the castle of Kalmar, the work of the Flemish Arendt Lambrechts, and the portrait school of JB Van Uther. The first half of the century XVII saw the prevalence, in architecture, of a Mannerist style of Dutch derivation (Christian J. Döteber, Hans J. Kristler, Kaspar Panten). Similar influences can be seen in sculpture, where artists like Aris Claesz and Joest Henne followed mannerist ways inspired by Giambologna. A notable evolution took place around 1640 with the work of Simon de la Vallée, who in the project of the Riddarhuset in Stockholm adhered to a rather austere classicist taste. This Frenchizing trend was contrasted by another, of the Palladian type, whose main exponent was the Dutch Justus Vingboons, author of the splendid facade of the Riddarhuset. In the period 1660-80, characterized by intense building activity, the two major architects were Jean De la Vallée and Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. To the former we owe numerous palaces and castles, influenced by the French Baroque, and some churches, the first with a central plan in Sweden; eclectic instead is the position of Tessin the Elder, who demonstrates French and Italian derivations in his works (the main one being the cathedral of Kalmar).