The Churches of Gotland

OTHEM

Nave and chancel are an early work by Lafrans Botvidarson. The walled up portal on the northern side reminds one of an older church, that in the beginning of the 13th century was augmented with the present tower. The chancel is decorated with remarkable paintings from three periods. The vault paintings were done as a finishing touch to the building about 1240. They show in the west a Life-tree with its roots in the rivers of Paradise; the paradise-symbol is completed by the other trees and the bust of the blessing Christ. Birds are sitting in the tree and are being shot at by hunters: they are human souls threatened by evil powers, which are also symbolized by the dragon in the west. To this complex belong, too, the ornaments on the ribs. "The beautiful Madonna" in the chancel arch was painted by a prominent artist about 1330. Lastly, about 1400, the chancel walls were decorated with the grandiose series of apostles (together with the Majesty of Christ and St Denis). These paintings belong to the finest in all Scandinavia from that time. The fittings of the church are from the 18th century; the breast of the organ gallery was painted in 1776 by J. N. Weller.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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