Swedish Arts: Renaissance and Baroque

By | August 15, 2021


According to extrareference, the renaissance reached Sweden during the reign of Gustav I. Eriksson Wasa, but only developed under his successors Erich XIV. And Johann III. The main task of architecture was the erection of royal castles; Most active were immigrant artists (master builder family Parr, the Flame Hans Fleming, * around 1545, † 1623). Vadstena Castle (1545 ff.) Shows on its portals (1563 and 1590) and gables (1602–40, Fleming attributed to) the inspiration from modern architectural theory (especially the orientation towards ancient forms and motifs derived from ancient times); the renovations of the castles Gripsholm (1537 ff.) and Kalmar are important because of their partially preserved interior (including chimneys, wall paneling, furniture in the style of Nordic Mannerism). The latter is considered to be the most splendid Renaissance interior in Sweden (particularly noteworthy are the portals, 1562–69; the castle courtyard with fountain, 1577/78; the palace chapel, before 1592).

As a result of political turmoil, the development of architecture and art stagnated around 1600. A new upswing set in in the 17th century when the nobility, who had become rich through the Thirty Years’ War, developed a brisk building activity (Tidö Castle near Västerås for A. G. Graf Oxenstierna, 1625–45; Skokloster Castle for C. G. Wrangel, 1654 ff.). The main masters of the Baroque, “Carolinian” architecture (named after the kings Karl X., Karl XI. And Karl XII., 1654–1718) are J. de la Vallée and N. Tessin the Elder and the Younger. The latter, trained in Rome and Paris, led the conversion of the Stockholm Palace into a palace based on the Roman model since the fire of 1697. Initially, however, the Dutch Palladianism (Ritterhaus in Stockholm, 1641–74, by Jost Vingboon, * around 1620, † 1698, and de la Vallée), later the Roman Baroque (Old Reichsbank in Stockholm, completed in 1682, by Ticino the Elder)). Individual baroque churches are inspired by Roman or Dutch (in Kalmar Dom, started in 1659, by Ticino the Elder; in Karlskrona Dreifaltigkeitskirche, 1697–1709, by Tessin the Younger and Olof Tempelman, * 1745, † 1816, and Fredrikskirche, 1720– 58, from Ticino the Younger; St. Catherine’s Church in Stockholm, begun in 1656, from de la Vallée). A special feature of the Swedish architecture of that time are the numerous burial chapels or choirs that the royal family and the aristocratic war heroes had built onto churches. The churches in Norrsunda near Sigtuna (burial chapel for Johan Sparre, from 1633, one of the earliest of its kind in Sweden) and in Jäder near Eskilstuna (burial choir for A. G. Graf Oxenstierna, 1640–44; Brahekapelle, 1645–59).


The Dutch have been leaders in sculpture since the advance of the Renaissance. The most important task were epitaphs and tombs for representatives of the royal family and the nobility, e.g. E.g. in the cathedral of Uppsala the tumba of Gustav I. Eriksson Wasa (around 1562–83) and the grave for Katarina Jagellonica (completed in 1590), in the cathedral of Strängnäs the tumba of Princess Isabella (around 1580) by Willem Boy (* around 1520, † 1592) as well as the grave monument of the Gyllenhielmkapelle (1629–33, by Henrik Damer, * before 1600, † 1640; Stuck 1649–52, by Daniel Anckermann, * around 1590, † around 1660). During the Thirty Years’ War, German sculptors also created outstanding works of the auricle style in stone and wood (marble epitaphs in the church of Jäder near Eskilstuna by H. Wilhelm; carved altars and pulpits in the churches in Falun and Gävle by Ewert Friis, * 1619, † 1672). Burchard Precht (* 1651, † 1738), who came from Bremen and has worked in Stockholm since 1674, introduced a lush acanthus baroque in the style of L. Bernini (royal box and pulpit in the Storkyrka in Stockholm, 1686; pulpit in Uppsala Cathedral, 1707). The grave choir of the Kagg family in the church in Floda near Katrineholm (stucco 1667, by Carlo Carove, † 1697). The sculptural decoration of the shelf ship Wasa (1626/27; Stockholm, Wasamuseum) is also significant.


The painters, mostly of Dutch or German origin, created v. a. Portraits (David Beck, * 1621, † 1656, active for Queen Christine). Significant interior paintings can be found in the churches of Sorunda (Södermanland, Bååthkapelle, 1549) and Glanshammar near Örebro (frescoes by Anders Johansson Ryttare, 1589). During the Carolinian era, D. Klöker von Ehrenstrahl from Hamburg dominated as a court painter with pompous portraits and historical-allegorical monumental paintings. His most productive student was D. von Krafft. At the beginning of the 17th century, more and more church wood ceilings were painted, especially in western Sweden (Kungälv near Gothenburg, from Erik Eriksson Grijs, * 1650, † 1720; Bro at Sigtuna, by Christian von Schönfeldt, * 1661, † 1742); Onsala, by Sven Wernberg, † 1739).

Swedish Arts - Renaissance and Baroque