The Churches of Gotland


The exterior of the church is one of the quaintest in all Sweden: a huge, broad chancel-building, out of which a little nave and a Romanesque tower seem to creep like a snail. It is a drastic example of the often stated fact that a grandiose Gothic architectonic dream never was to come true. The nave and the tower from the early 12th century now form only an empty vestibule to the three-aisled hall. When at the middle of the 14th century a small but richly decorated portal was placed in the nave this certainly was meant as a temporary arrangement, which, however, became permanent. The small sculptures on the capitals, most of them depicting daily life, are most entertaining: there is not a single religious motif, but I should think that they all have a moral allusion. In the Romanesque church there are fragments of Russo-Byzantine paintings in the style of Garde. The great hall seems to have been inspired by the cathedral in Linköping, where Gotlandic stone masons were at work in the 13th century. Possibly the great building enterprise in Källunge was interrupted by the civil war in 1288. On the northern wall is a series of paintings in the style of the "Passion master". The fine altar piece with painted wings is a product of Lübeck from the beginning of the 16th century, which was bought from St Mary's in Visby in 1684. The vane is a copy of the bronze ship vane from the 11 th century, which in 1930 was taken down from the church spire and now can be seen in the Visby museum.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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