The Churches of Gotland


In the beginning of this century the church could have been called the national shrine of Gotland. It was then, after a sumptuous restoration (1899-1914), ready to welcome a stream of visitors from near and afar. It had become famous. The restoration was planned by the Gotland-born architect and etcher Axel Herman Haig (Hägg, see Ardre), who also made the sketches for the new mural paintings, executed by the Gotlander C.W. Pettersson, a good consenator but a poor artist. The intention was to restore the very fine church to its medieval beauty, but instead it was transmuted and overburdened with ornaments. The most notable works of art are the stained glass panes in the chancel windows; only the panes representing the Ascension, Pantocrator, the Judas-kiss, the Flagellation, Christ carrying the cross and St Marga ret are original, probably executed by German artisans in Visby about 1230-40; all others were put in at the restoration. Of the murals only those on the south and south-east walls, representing the Deposition from the Cross, St Michael fighting the dragon and St Michael weighing the soul of Emperor Henry II (see Vamlingbo), are original, executed about 1350 by "The Painter of the Egypticus-workshop". A stately choir-stall from the 14th century has been partly reconstructed and augmented in the 17th century and at the restoration. The church itself was erected in the period 1230-50, but the upper parts of the tower and its sumptuous portal are the work or "Egypticus" about 1350. Fundaments of an older church have been found under the floor; from this originate the framework of the niche in the choir and a tombstone from the 12th century over the curate Nicolaus with his image, built up in the north portal. Fragmentary paintings in Russo-Byzantine style from a panel work are kept in the vestry.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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