The Churches of Gotland


The church is of old renowned as one of the most remarkable in the island. Usually one enters through the northern portal, which, like the tower as a whole, is a work by "Egypticus" from the middle of the 14th century. The prone man, who armed with hammer and tongs is glowering at the visitor, is St Eligius, the patron of the goldsmiths and Bishop of Noyon in the 7th century, here rather disrespectfully handled by the artist; the eastern capitals show a concentrated representation of St Mary, Christ and St John. Of the rest of the building the choir is the oldest part, from the beginning of the 13th century, with an inside apse. The nave was built towards the end of the century. Widely famous is the Holy Rood, unique in its kind in Scandinavia and the main work of the "Öja master", a French-educated sculptor, who established a workshop in Gotland at the end of the 13th century. The Mater dolorosa is a copy of the original statue in Gotlands fornsal, and St John is caned by the Gotlandic artist Bertil Nyström. In the tower vault is a beardless Christ enthroned painted by the "Egypticus-master". The "Passion master" has painted the usual series on the northern wall of the nave, but much more remarkable in a Gotlandic church are some paintings in the choir executed by a master belonging to the "Stockholm-school", the leader of which was the well-known Albertus Pictor, working in the last decades of the 15th century. These are the only paintings of that school known in Gotland.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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