The Churches of Gotland

FIDE

The church with its heavy sandstone cubes, stands against the desolate background of stony coastal fields and sea. One of the curious features of the church, perhaps a little difficult to get sight of, is a picture of a ship, carved in the original 13th century plaster to the east of the northern portal, made with skill and an artistic eye and of great maritime archaeological interest. A little painting in the rood arch could be called "the Valdemar cross of Southern Gotland", as pathetic as that in Visby. It shows Christ as the Man of Sorrows, and the inscription tells of war and fire: "Eder succense gens cesa dolens ruit ense" (The farms are bumt down, wailing, the people fall stricken with sword). The letters signifying Latin numbers in the inscription give the sum 1361, the year of the Danish invasion in Gotland under king Valdemar Atterdag. The paintings in the chancel and the Coronation of the Virgin in the nave are executed by the "Othem master" and an assistant (see Othem) in the beginning of the 15th century. For the rest there are ornamental paintings round the rood arch and in the vaults of the nave from the middle of the 13th century and the usual passion series from the 15th. The stately Holy Rood from about 1250 seems too big for the little church and may have come here later from another church. The altar piece is of North German origin and should be dated about 1400. The remarkable pulpit with late Gothic ornaments is dated 1587.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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