The Our Lady Monastery in Elsinore is unusually well preserved. It was built and rebuilt in the latter half of the 15th century.
|Our Lady Monastery in Elsinore was built during the second half of the 15th century. It is very well preserved and is thus unique in Europe. It is a fine example of the Baltic Gothic.
The Ground Plan
The ground plan was typical for the monastery buildings of southern Europe. The different wings in the almost square building had different functions. The economy department with cooking facilities was in the north wing and the monastery church (The Mary Church) in the south. Inside is a roofed cloister, which goes all the way round the square inner yard.
The Karmelite Monastery
The Frater Hall
The building material is brick, which is typical of the north European or Baltic Gothic. The three naves in the church are also typical of the north European style, where the middle nave does not let in the light. This half basilica style testifies to the influence of the Wend Hanseatic towns and is also present in the Mary Church in Helsingborg, which was built at the same time as the Our Lady Monastery.
Gothic pointed arches can be seen everywhere in doors, windows, house ends and in the cloister. The ends of the church are a display of brick Gothic’s architecture. The east and west end have stair formed edges with four vertical dims on each side of the 11 metres tall middle window. Above this window and above the side windows there are broader dimmers with varying patterns (circular, pear shaped and pointed arches).
Inside the monastery the gothic vaults and columns are richly varied. Most common are the simple cross vaults, which are in the church and in the cloister, but in the chapter hall (Laxmand hall) there are sophisticated net vaults with inlaid symbols and coat of arms. Some ornaments, done by the sculptor Adam van Düren, are in the chapter hall. He built Glimmingehus and he also restored Lund´s Cathedral. With this artist we are brought nearer a new age and in the monastery there are many things, which testifies to the dawning age of the Renaissance. One example is the stone building opposite the entrance of the monastery church, and which was attached to the monastery from the start. The building is interesteing as it contains elements from the Gothic as well as the Renaissance. On the house end there are horizontal profile bands and vaulted sides, which are typical of the renaissance style.
The west house
The West House End
The West House End
The East House End
The Monastery from the west
The Chapter Hall
In the inner rooms of the monastery there is an abundant variation in Gothic vaults and pillars. The simple cross vault is predominant in the church and corridors, while the chapter hall or the Laxmand hall has sophisticated net vaults with engraved symbols and coats of arms.
Ornamental figures in the corners remind the noble karmelite monks of the temptations of earthly life. The originator of these figures and the other sandstone work is probably the sculptor and architect Adam van Düren, who also is in charge of the building of the late medieval castle Glimmingehus in Østerlen in Scania and later the restoration of Lund Cathedral.
The Laxmand Hall
Adam van Düren portends another age. The Karmelite monastery is a traditional medieval building, but many traits in the ornamentation point towards the dawning Renaissance.
Not only the monastery points toward a new age. Diagonally opposite the monastery church there is a stone building, which originally is associated with the activities of the monastery. When you walk around in the building you enter the Renaissance from the Middle Ages. On the western gable end, which faces St. Annægade, and represents a later addition you will see the horizontal profile bands, which is typical of the Renaissance. The northern gable facing the monastery complex is ornamented with the fluctuating gable ends typical of the Renaissance. These can also be found in mansions and royal castles later in time.
The Carmelite House
The Carmelite House, the north end