Nationalmuseet: Middle-Ages to Early Modern Danish History

Right, this is part 2 I guess! This one is much lighter than my previous walk through the Prehistory Gallery. There are several reasons for that: a)time was pressing, b)my phone was running out of battery and so was the camera, c)the collection is being re-evaluated and some interesting items are not on display, d)the museum is aware their Pre-history collection is their forte. Therefore, I’ll through as much context as possible and when I can, but this is going to be a mostly photographic run through the second floor and several galleries of the National Museum of Denmark.

Medieval to Modern – through the lens of a camera

You like medieval polychrome art? Here is a room full of religious panes, all from Denmark.


Did you say you also liked to see some medieval furniture? Here are some wardrobes and cupboards! I have Never seen anything like them!
St. George and the Dragon – international medieval figure. The woodcarving was originally located in the north aisle of Husum church (Slesvig). However the church was demolished in 1807, thus the statue lives now in the museum. The group was carved around 1520 by Hans Bruggermann

St. George again, from the Stokkemarke church in Lolland.c. 1500. In the museum I learnt that apparently, the Danish leper hospitals located outside many cities were indeed called St. George houses…

Another medieval favourite: St. Martin. The relief dated from around the year 1500 and it was originally located in Bjaeverskov church (Sjaelland).

The workings of a medieval clock!

Ever wondered about the process of gilding? I have! I was deeply grateful for finding this panel showing the different stages and the method used. Another handy resource.
This, my friends, is how crossbowmen of the 14th and 15th centuries protected themselves. It is called a “storm wall”. You may notice that the shield has some spikes at the bottom to ground it while the person firing the crossbow took refuge behind it and loaded safely, firing then through the triangular incision at the front. The museum interpretation indicated that the paintings on the shield may reflect that this had the emblem of a town in southern Germany.

Yes, this is a drinking horn. This one in particular belonged to Henrik Christiernson Tornekrans, abbot of Soro. He died in 1538, so the museum estimates the horn probably dates c.1400.
In the museum they had an entire cabinet full of reliquaries. This one however was the one that really grabbed me. It is believed to have been from Soro abbey, and dated from somewhere between 1200-1250. The representations are the flight into Egypt, the visitation and the annunciation, as well as the nativity scene and the shepherds in the field (image above). The Second image which is the other side of the reliquary represented the Three Magi (image below).


Golden altar from Lisbjerb church, near Aarhus.

One of the few surviving stained glasses from the Danish Middle Ages. It was explained in the display that stained glass would have been widespread, but for some reason it has not been very well-preserved and few remain. This one represents St. Martin. It belongs to the church of Bjerreby (Tansige), c.1200-1250.
Display representing how the museum used to look and approach their representation of history. This is because the museum effectively is composed of several collections. According to the museum’s own text, the Nationalmuseet is in fact an arrangement of museums within a museum. The display represents the arrangements in the 1800s.

  It is worth explaining this in a bit more of detail. It seems that prior to the Nationalmuseet, the collections were part of the Kunstkammer. So effectively the rooms represent displays from the Oldnordisk museum, the Royal Ethnographical museum, the Royal Coin and Medal Cabinet, and the Royal Art museum. In addition, it counts with rooms from the Danish Folk museum. So a museum of museums…Interesting concept! I hope this explains to you a bit better the odd assortment of items so far, and those to come.

Armillary sphere. Model of the universe signed by the German cartographer Vopel (1543).

Bourgeois interior from Aalborg

German crossbow from 16th Century Saxony
All of these are Danish and German hunting weapons from the 16th and 17th centuries

And I am afraid here is where the fun ends in the Nationalmuseet!…However, more to come for I am a dedicated person and I got to many places in little time. Please stay tuned for more of my trip to Copenhagen!

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