The period around the years 1500 marks the transition from medieval times to the Renaissance. Renaissance means rebirth (from Italian: Re-nascio) and refers to the comprehensive rediscovery, reuse and development of knowledge and technique from classical times, which started in Northern Italy in the 14th century and spread to North-western Europe.
|The 16th century was the century of the the Renaissance and the Reformation in the Sound region.
The first third of the century was marked by power struggles between the king and the four estates. The struggles culminated in the so-called Count´s Feud, where the king, Christian 3., and the nobility strengthened their positions
Thus the road was paved for the definite victory of the Reformation in 1536, and the church lost its strong financial and political power.
In the latter part of the 16th century there was a great upturn in the domestic and foreign trade, which led to large income via the Sound Duty..
The capital was among other things used for the building of the king´s and the nobility´s magnificent castles and manor houses.
Gradually the Renaissance concept also comes to cover a more united, new, or if you will, modern reality and human perception, weighting the creative powers of the individual and its desire to explore the surrounding world. Man appears as an individual and creates reality in his own image.
The tendency is clear in the development of the portrait in the art of painting. Royalty, nobility and the middle classes have their portraits made and the artist too appears as a named person.
King Christian 2. (1513-23) appears as the typical ruler and Renaissance prince of the time: At once despotic and far-sighted. He sees the cities and the middle-classes as the future but is not able to implement his visions.
Within the church the reform catholic currents are strengthened influenced by the Renaissance humanism. Malmo becomes a literary hotbed of the reformation, which starts with the banishment of the Franciscan monks before 1536.
The royal power is strengthened with the confiscation of the property of the church in 1536. Class struggle between king, nobility and peasants, which culminate with the Count´s Feud in 1534-36, makes the time up to 1550 to a stagnation period. The royal power barricades itself with new stronghold-like castles, for example Malmøhus.
The time around 1550 is marked by European improved market conditions, which results in increased trade and export in the Baltic Sea area and increased traffic through the Sound. Especially raw materials – corn, cattle, wood and minerals – are exported for consumption and processing in Western Europe.
The increasing trade and export constitute marked increase in income for the Danish royal power via the Sound Duty and for the nobility through export of agricultural products. This income is the starting point for a number of royal and aristocratic buildings and a magnificent mode of life in the spirit of the Renaissance.
Under the reign of Frederik 2.(1559-1588) the royal power gathers large parts of its estates in Northern Zealand and builds Kronborg and Frederiksborg Castle in Renaissance style. Among the nobility many go on culture trips to the south and the interest in the culture and science of the renæssance is increased.
Tycho Brahe and his science centre in Uranienborg in Hven is a shining example of the flourishing interest in science and culture.
Noblemen build extensive private libraries and the interest of the past is expressed in the collecting and writing down of medieval folk songs. In this area women are a factor too.
In the beginning of the century there were three Nordic realms. Denmark, Sweden and Norway connected by Margrethe 1.s Kalmar Union. Gradually Sweden breaks away from the union, the relationship between Denmark and Sweden is worsened and the result is the Nordic Seven Year War in 1563-70, the first of a number of larger, military confrontations in and around the Sound region.
King and Artist
|A sure sign of the breakthrough of a new conception of man, was the individualism, which started to mark the art of portraits.
This first showed itself in portraits of the royal families, but soon spread to the nobility and the middle classes.
A sure sign of the breakthrough of a new conception of man, was the individualism, which started to mark the art of portraits.
This first showed itself in portraits of the royal families, but soon spread to the nobility and the middle classes.
The first lifelike portraits of Danish sovereigns are from the end of the 15th century. It is Mantegna´s portrait of Christian I, who was painted, when he stayed in the prince palace in Mantova in North Italy.
In 1474 the king travelled south in a political-diplomatic errand and arrived in Italy, where he experienced the currents of the new age. In a mural in the castle Malpaga you can see the Danish king on horseback. He is hunting with the Venetian general Bartolomei Colleoni.
In his travels the king also met the pope, who characterized the king as ”a beautiful animal, but unfortunately without the power of speech”. The king could not speak Latin, which was the language of the learned far into the 17th century.
The king and the pope
King Hans and Adam van Düren
King Hans (1481-1513) continued his father´s efforts to modernize the kingdom. There is no portrait of king Hans, but a stylised relief on the well curb in the crypt of Lund´s Cathedral, attributed to Adam van Düren, is considered to be lifelike.
Adam van Düren is an early example of a named artist with a versatile knowledge and feeling for scenes. A relief bust in a window recess in Lund´s Cathedral is considered to be a self-portrait of the artist.
Adam van Düren was the man behind the extensive restoration of Lund´s Cathedral in the beginning of the 16th century. King Hans actively participated in the project and gave instructions that the church was to have its original appearance back – perhaps an expression of the Renaissance’s ideas of revive and restore the past. In that case this is about an interest in the Roman age.
Adam van Düren
The Well in the Crypt
In connection with the restoration a well was built in the crypt of the church. The relief on the well curb represents the king and a citizen. The text on the king´s scroll says: Honour is above all. Opposite there is perhaps the first depiction of a citizen, a merchant, who is holding on to his purse and says: No, says the money, where I turn, there is no love.
Another relief depicts a commoner’s wife and a monk. The text is this: Many give good advice to other, even though he seldom takes it himself. On a third you see a giant louse sucking blood form a tied sheep: The text says: The hungry louse bites the sheep, that is true. God help the sheep, which is tied and cannot scratch itself. The hungry louse must be pleased.
The Well Curb
The Well Curb
The Well Curb
The king, Christian II, had through his marriage, strong contacts with the Netherlands. The prominent portrait painter Michel Sittow´s portrait of the king in Dutch three quarter profile is probably the first ”modern” portrait painting in Denmark.
The Altarpiece in Elsinore
The influence from the Netherlands is clearly felt in the original altarpiece for the Saint Mary´s Church in Elsinore. Here the king has let himself be portrayed with his spouse at the bottom of the altar piece.
There was no doubt, who had paid for the art piece. The king interferes with divinity, so to say, in a pretentious representation of himself. But on the other hand, if the nobleman Poul Laxmand could place his insignia above the high altar and an upstart like Hans Pothorst could let himself be portrayed in the vault of the church, why shouldn’t the king let himself be portrayed on the altar piece itself.
One of the king´s faithful allies was the mayor of Malmo, Jørgen Kock, is seen here in a very early portrait. Kock was an aristocrat but evidently preferred to be portrayed as a commoner. Perhaps a way of showing sympathy for Christian 2´s. hostility towards nobility?
The Art of Printing
|The art of printing had great significance to the political as well as the religious struggle during the 16th century. Christian II understood how to take advantage of the new medium of the time and was helped by many commoners, humanists and priests. Leaflets and books were produced and the bible translations had great significance.
In the time of Christian II (1513-1523) the royal power made an alliance with the lower classes. Christian II tried to oblige the peasants by introducing laws, which were to secure the freedom of movement of the peasants and stop the sale of peasants from estate to estate.
”From now on, peasants shall not be sold. Such an evil, unchristian custom, which have been used here in Zealand, Falster, Lolland and Mön, to sell and give away poor peasants and Christian people like any soulless cattle, shall after this day never happen again...”
But mostly it was the citizens of the Danish cities that were benefited. Christian´s love of the religious reformism and his will to strengthen the royal power were also contributing factors to the nobility rebellion, which led to the fall of the king in 1523. When Christian was dethroned in 1523 a civil war broke out in the country. Copenhagen and Malmo remained faithful to the king, but the Scanian nobility wanted the new king, Frederik I, who led a more pro-nobility policy.
After the king had been ousted there were problems with tax refusals in Zealand. In Scania a regular rebellion broke out in 1525, when the Scanians, led by the feudal overlord of Gotland, Sören Norrby paid tribute to Christian II. In this connection Christian II issued a proclamation to the Danish people, where he said that neither noble or spiritual gentlemen ”look upon a poor peasant as nothing more than a dog”.
Christian II met with Martin Luther in 1523 and almost immediately converted to the new Protestant doctrine. The reformation, with its idea of the bible as the only guiding principle increased the demand for bibles and other religious books. The perception of the reformation went hand in hand with demands for increased literacy and access to bibles in Danish translation.
Christian participated actively (from his exile) in the publishing of the first Danish translation of the New Testament. The former mayor of Malmo and the merchant Hans Mikkelsen aided him. Christian knew how to employ the new propaganda means of the time, the printed word. One example is a coloured propaganda script (from around 1530), where the king´s return is agitated.
The Humanist Christiern Pedersen
In 1529 a new version of the New Testament was published, this time vastly improved. The man responsible was Chrstiern Pedersen, former canon in Lund, who had participated in the Scanian rebellion on the side of Christian II. He had converted to the new doctrine in 1526 and joined the exiled king. Christiern Pedersen was born and raised in Elsinore and became one of the most prominent humanists of the time. He lived for a number of years in Paris, where he was behind the first printed edition of Saxo´s History of Denmark, Gesta Danorum, from the 13th century – an expression of the great interest of the time to revive the history of the past.
When he returned to Denmark in 1532 he was allowed to live in Malmo, where the reformation had been carried through in 1529. Here was very active and published a script ”Om barn at hålla til Skola och Studium”, where he advocated a new and more humane education. It was also his translation work, which was the foundation of the first collected Danish bible translation. It was published in 1550 as ”Christian II´s Danish Bible”.
C. Pedersens medical book
Christian III´s bible
The Grammar School in Ystad
|Martin Luther (1483-1546) German Theology professor and reformer was one of several protesting the decay, which many thought permeated the Catholic Church.
It was Luther´s proposal to reform the church, which was behind the Reformation in Denmark , where reformers in Denmark´s big cities: Viborg, Haderslev, Copenhagen and above all, Malmo, led the transition to the reformed, Lutheran denomination.
The Reformation Wave in Europe
In the late Middle Ages a wave of Reformation endeavours went through the Christian Europe. The German Theology professor Martin Luther (1483-1546) was just one of many, who protested the decay, which many found permeated the Catholic Church. Luther especially attacked the papal power, the sale of indulgences and the deed teachings, which meant that man could save himself through good deeds. Instead he propagated a church, which had the bible as the highest authority and where faith was the basis on which salvation was built.
Luther found that there was too much in the Catholic practising, which had no evidence in the bible: The worshipping of saints, the Mary cult, the monastery life and the celibacy of priests were among the examples, which must be removed from the church´s teachings. Han considered the royal power as a much better guarantor for a serious church than the papal power. It is therefore no wonder that many of the princes in Europe were attracted to the Lutheran teachings.
Letter of indulgence
Power Struggle in Denmark – The Count´s Feud
Denmark´s king after the dethronement of Christian 2.s in 1523, Frederik I., had given the growing Lutheranism his cautious support, even though he had promised the Catholic bishops in his strict coronation charter to fight all “heresy”. After the death of Frederik I.s in 1533 the bishops refused to recognize his son, Christian as the king. Mostly because he had openly embraced Lutheranism and had introduced it in the areas in Schleswig, with which his father had endowed him. The citizens of Malmo and Copenhagen wanted to reinstate Christian 2., but the bishops did not want that either, as he, as his cousin Christian, also was an eager follower of the teachings of Luther.
Divisions between the aristocracy and the middle classes led to a violent civil war, the so-called Count´s Feud, where the bourgeoisie and the Jutlandic peasants put Count Christoffer of Oldenburg (hence the name)in charge of Lubeck´s army against the Danish aristocracy. In this situation Sweden supported the Jutlandic aristocracy’s preferred heir to the throne Frederik´s son, Christian. And in 1534 Christian became the king of Denmark under the name Christian 3. In unison with the extremely professional general Johan Rantzau the king defeated the army from Lubeck and slaughtered the Jutlandic peasant army, led by Skipper Clement.
Christian 3. The Reformation King
The Reformation is Carried Through
The takeover meant partly that the aristocracy gained influence and partly that an opportunity had arisen to carry through the Reformation. But first the Catholic bishops had to be removed. In the parliament in Copenhagen the Catholic bishops were blamed for the chaotic conditions, which prevailed and for their direct opposition against having a Lutheran on the throne.
The result was that all bishops were discharged, there land was confiscated and their income went to the state. The next year the fate of the Catholic Church was sealed. A new church law was passed, which was in harmony with the Lutheran teachings, and in 1536 the Reformation was carried through in Denmark.
The road to the Reformation had been long and hard and the ideas of the Reformation had long since taken roots in Denmark as well as many of the surrounding countries.
The Church Ordinance
Even inside the Catholic Church in Denmark there had been criticism in the beginning of the 16th century of the disparity and the greed, which ruled the papal church. They wanted reforms and a leading figure in reform Catholicism was the Danish Carmelite monk and university teacher, Poul Helgesen. Helgesen was especially sceptical of the extensive religious swindle with the term sale of indulgences. However, he remained faithful to the Catholic Church.
But there were far more radical and earlier critics of the Catholic Church than Poul Helgesen. An early centre of the dissemination of Lutheranism in Denmark was for example Haderslev in Southern Jutland. As early as 1525 a school for priest, where Lutheranism was the basis for the work of the new priests.
One of the most well-known and outstanding critics of the Catholic Church also started early. It was the St. John monk Hans Tavsen, who became the first priest, who fully implemented Lutheranism in his sermons and his work. First in Viborg, Jutland and later in Copenhagen.
One of the most powerful manifestations of the new Lutheran teachings was the Lord´s Day in 1527. Her it was stated that faith was voluntary and that an evangelical free church was allowed.
Hans Tavsen, the Danish Luther
Malmo became an early centre for Lutheranism and here the priest Claus Mortensen became a leading figure. He had preached the teachings of Luther in Copenhagen, but in 1527 he was asked by the mayor and mintmaster Jørgen Kock to return to Malmo, his native town. Mortensen started to preach in a little chapel outside Malmo, but drew such crowds that he moved his activities to Petri Church in the central part of town. A former monk, Hans Spandemager, joined up and Mortensen and Spandemager worked out the first evangelical Mass in Danish. This Mass was called “the Malmo Mass"
The Archbishop in Lund, Aage Jepsen Sparre, reacted strongly against both reformers and he succeeded in getting them banished from Malmo. In 1528 they moved to Haderslev.
After a time in Haderslev, Claus Mortensen and Hans Spandager returned to Malmo in the summer of 1529. But now they brought a protection letter from King Frederik I. This made them untouchable and the reform work was intensified. Three former Karmelite brothers Frans Vormordsen, Peder Laurentsen and Anders Ljung now participated in the reform work and they became leading figures in the Lutheran priest school, which was established in Malmo. (They were all former pupils of the reformed Catholic Poul Helgesen).
The Gravestone of C. Mortensen
Malmo- A Lutheran Town 1529
The citizens of Malmo gradually became ati-Catholic and the Catholic parish priest was forced to resign at the end of September 1529. Claus Mortensen was then installed as a new vicar in town. One of his first acts was to carry out an iconoclasm in St. Petri Church. Pictures and statues, which did not correspond to the the “pure” Lutheran teachings, were thrown into the street and destroyed.
From now on Malmø was a Lutheran town. I.e. two years after Sweden´s transition to Lutheranism and seven years before the final victory of the Reformation in the rest of Denmark. The first Lutheran ordination in Denmark was carried out in St.Petri Church in Malmo 1531.
Petri Church in Malmo
The Malmo Book and the Chronicle – Two Sources on the Reformation
Peder Laurentsen wrote the so-called ”Malmo Book” in 1529, which provided a Lutheran explanation of the Reformation in Denmark. The title was ”The Cause and a True Explanation of the New Reformation”. The script is considered one of the most important works of the early Reformation. There is still one copy of the original edition in existence in the university library in Lund.
The view of the Catholic Church on the events are written down in ”Cronica seu brevis processus in causa expulsionis fratrum minoritarum de suis cenobiis provincie Dacie”, often called “the Chronicle of the Banishment of the Franciscans” from 1534.
The Mendicant Friars
The mendicant friars are the avant-garde of the established church. Some monastery orders was directly tied to the Holy See and the closed monastery societies were not as integrated in the surrounded society as for instance the parish churches. They were in short more vulnerable and they and the mendicant friars came under fire in the end of the 1520´s.
As early as 1527 there were complaints that the poor monks were persecuted and the King Frederik 1.at first issued a letter to the vassals to protect them. Later on, when the king sees an advantage in taking over the church´s property, he participates actively in the banishment of the mendicant friars.
Attack on the Monastery in Malmo
In Malmo there were heavy attacks on the activities of the monasteries led by Claus Mortensen. In the beginning it was verbal attacks from the pulpits, but after Mortensen had become the vicar in Malmo, they started to persecute the monks and they were violently driven out of their monasteries.
The reformers were backed up by the citizens of Malmo. There were two monasteries in the town. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in the present Stortorget, and the Monastery of the Franciscans.
During the harvest of 1529 the Brothers of the Holy Spirit were driven away from their monastery and in May 1530 the Franciscans were driven away. This happened under quite dramatic circumstances. The Franciscans were locked up in the dining hall and then asked to get out of the monastery.
Attack on the Monastery in Ystad
In 1532 it was the Franciscans in Ystad, who were to be driven away. With a royal letter the mayor demanded that the monks were banished. When negotiations of this broke down the citizens of the town attacked. They interned the leaders of the monastery, banned the monks from performing church acts and finally drove the monks away.
The mendicant friars´ fate was sealed through a document in 1537:
”No mendicant friars are allowed to dwell in our kingdoms after this day, they must neither beg nor hear confessions. But those, who are old and fragile and are no good for any church posts can stay in the monastery and there they may earn their living for the sake of God. However they must leave off their gown and they must not blaspheme against the Gospel”.
The Archbishop Title Is Abolished
The archbishop seat in Lund as taken by Frands Vormordsen from Malmo. He was ordained as superintendent on September 2. 1537. Superintendent became the new title for the bishop in Lund. The introduction of the Reformation was thus finally done.
Preaching at the Centre
With the Lutheran teaching as a point of departure far greater attention was directed at the interpretation of the texts in the bible, i.e. the preaching. The sermon of the priest was not unknown in the Catholic Church, but in the Lutheran church the sermon became the main attraction. It can be said that the service space was moved from the altar to the pulpit.
A visible sign of this was that new and expensive pulpits were installed. There are a number of these still in existence and they can bee seen in the churches from the 16th and 17th centuries in the Sound region.
St. Mary Pulpit in Helsingborg
|During the second half of the 16th century trade and shipping was intensified in the Sound region. The cause was a general boom simultaneously with the fact that raw materials from the Baltic area became more important. In the economic centre of the Europe around the English Channel the demand for wood, copper and iron increased.
The reasons for the increased wealth of the aristocracy can be found in the economic role that the Sound and Baltic regions played in the economic boom, which marked all of Europe during most of the 16th century and to the middle of the 17th century.
The increased access to precious metals, caused by the great voyage of discoveries, was to a considerable extent a stimulus on the economic development.
The new world and its riches brought with it a more intensive trade and the economic centre of gravity moved from the Mediterranean area to Western Europe. The harbours on the Atlantic coast and around the English Channel developed into important trade centres. The growth in these areas brought with it an increased demand for goods, not least to the shipyards. This gave an increased importance to the Baltic area with its wood and iron products. And the importance of the Sound grew.
The favourable market conditions naturally influenced the towns in the Sound area. The development in craft and trade was consolidated and there was a massive immigration, not least to Elsinore, which was called ”Little Amsterdam” in Europe.
The Sound Region with Increasing Activity
In Denmark the growing economy was felt under Christian III (1534-59). The royal power had been strengthened through the taking over of the church´s property and through the rise in income from the Sound duty, thanks to the increasing traffic on the Sound. In 1550 the Sound was passes by 3000 ships and in 1590 it had increased to 5000. The relationship to the aristocracy was balanced by means of new entailed estate laws by which the nobility had an increased share of the growing wealth.
The corn and above all the cattle export grew constantly and from the middle of the 16th century the prices on these products rose heavily. The price was doubled from the 1520´s to the 1560 and doubled again to 1590´s.
Sea Map 1585
Detail of Sea Map 1585
Detail of Sea Map 1585
Customs House, Elsinor
|The society of the 16th century was, according to our standards, extremely class divided. The nobility consisted of a small upper class of 2-300 families immensely rich and influential. At the same time there was a growing underclass at the absolute bottom of society, who was completely dependant on handouts.
The society of the 16th century was, according to our standards, extremely class divided. The nobility consisted of a small upper class of 2-300 families immensely rich and influential. At the same time there was a growing underclass at the absolute bottom of society, who was completely dependant on handouts. This was partly due to the fact that many social and health tasks, which earlier had been taken care of by the monasteries, slowly began to be taken over by new institutions, like the Holy Spirit houses in the larger towns. Often such tasks were also left to private persons, who (partly from religious reasons) devoted themselves to charity. This seems to have been the idea behind the altarpiece, which was hung in the Mary Church in Helsingborg in 1583.
The altarpiece has a double portrait and three pictures above each other on the left side. The portrait shows a noble couple, perhaps the vassal of Helsingborg´s castle, Arild Urup and his wife Thale Thott. Their gold chains can identify them, which symbolize noble wealth and power.
The motif is, like in the dining hall in the Our Lady monastery in Elsinore, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The poor beggar Lazarus will get his reward in Heaven, while the rich man is tormented in Hell.The subtext says:
You Christians, whom God have given enough, consider the poor, who suffer grief, sickness, misery and distress, poverty and hunger for bread, with something in this collection box. Show your faith with good deeds and God in his Heaven will look agreeably upon you.
The old notion that God looks agreeably on good deeds seems to have outlived the reformation.
Private charity did not only include handouts to the poor, but also the establishing of schools. A good example is the couple Herluf Trolle and Birgitte Gøye.
A portrait of Birgitte Gøye from 1550 shows a woman bedecked with gold chains, the symbol of noble dignity. Birgitte Gøye was the daughter of the chancellor Mogens Gøye and belonged to a small flock of noble families, where marriage always was united with land. But Birgitte Gøye refused to marry the one that the family had chosen for her and had to wait for 15 years to have the one she loved, the later admiral Herluf Trolle.
Herluf Trolle was born in Lillö in Scania as number 12 in a crowd of children of 15. His personal property was thus limited. In his marriage to Birgitte Gøye he married into large properties, among them Hillerødsholm and Græsede in North Zealand, which the couple later traded with the king for Skogkloster.
Birgitte Gjöe (1551-1574)
Birgitte Gøye was one of the great art collectors of the time. She imported among other things, three altar pieces in renaissance style, probably from Antwerp. An altarpiece from 1568 was donated to the St. Olai Church in Elsinore. The altarpiece came with a donation and was to remind people of the generosity of the donor.
Birgitte Gøye and Herluf Trolle, who remained childless, also gave donations to the grammar schools in Elsinore, Roskilde and Næstved.
The couple also founded the Herlufsholm boarding school for noble students.
The wish to be portrayed and immortalized in the presence of God spread among the nobility and the middle classes in the time after the reformation. Examples of noble portrait art can be seen in the church at Bosjökloster in Scania, where there is a portrait gallery. A large family portrait shows the influential widow Thale Ulfstand, kneeling with her family members, the late husband Poul Laxmand (the younger) two sons and the daughter, Birthe with her two husbands, all in almost life size.
The need of the aristocratic families to be immortalized also led to that it became common to have plaques in the churches. Unlike the medieval paintings authentic persons were depicted.
Family Portrait in Bosjökloster
Detail of Family Portrait
|The enormous income of the aristocracy and the royal power from the period was invested in prestigious renaissance buildings. From the latter part of the 16th century and into the 17th century the aristocracy started a massive building of manor houses, which still today is characteristic of the Scanian landscape.
Castles and Manor Houses
The enormous income of the royal power and the aristocracy in the period was largely invested in prestigious renaissance buildings. Form the latter part of the 16th century the aristocracy started a massive building of manors, which even today marks the Scanian landscape. Approximately 150 of these buildings are still standing, while approximately 20 have disappeared.
The number of genuine renaissance manor houses was reduced in connection with the 19th century´s romantic restoration fad, but some buildings are fairly well preserved.
Vittskövle, Skarhult, Torup
One early and very well preserved example is Vitskövle Castle in north western Scania, which is the largest castle building in Scania. It was built by the Brahe family in the 1550´s. Vittskövle castle still has some of the massive weight of the medieval castle. The castle is shut in by broad moats. In connection to the castle there is a chapel dedicated to the Brahe family.
Skarhult in Eslöv´s municipality in Scania also has a massive and well preserved castle. The building style with swung house ends points toward the renaissance.
Torup is a building with a medieval style (as Vitskövle)and was built 1537-50.
Family Portrait in Vittskövle
Svenstorp and Rosendal
Svenstorp in Lund´s municipality was built in the so-called Christian IV-style. Typical of this style is the red tile in combination with horizontal bands and window casings in white sandstone. Svenstorp is not a fortress, more an opulent summer castle. The entrance portal is ascribed to Hans van Steenwinkel, who also worked with Kronborg.
Rosendal in Helsingborg is a very preserved rennaisance building.
In mid- and south Zealand which belonged to the nobility, as did Scania, there are a number of manors in the Renaissance style. Gisselfeld is also among the early manors, which was built in the time after the Count´s Feud. Is says 1547 on the main building, begun by Per Oxe and finished before his death in 1575.
Vallø close to Køge has certain similarities to Skarhult in Scania: Massive with the two towers five storeys high. The original building from 1580-86 the south wing with the two towers only had two storeys, but it was heightened around 1610.
Lystrup close to Fakse is an early example of Dutch Renaissance, and like Svenstorp in Scania red bricks in combination with white sandstone have been used. It s obviously a smaller castle, built for Eiler Grubbe in 1579. The many sandstone works may have been done by Hans Steenwinkel the older, who also worked in Kronborg.
The Nordic Seven-Year War 1563-70
|Around 1560 two young, aggressive kings, Frederik II and Erik XIV had come to power. This led to direct confrontations and the Nordic Seven-Year Was of 1563-70 was the result. The concrete reasons for the outbreak were many and somewhat banal, but basically Sweden felt fenced in by the Danish-Norwegian kingdom.
The End of the Union
The Nordic unification efforts, which took place under Queen Margrete´s Kalmar Union from 1397 finally ebbed out in the beginning of the 16th century, when a wave of national awakening washed over Denmark and Sweden. The first decade of the 16th century was one long confrontation between the two parties and with Christian II and The Bloodbath in Stockholm in 1520; an end was finally put to the unification efforts.
After this Sweden established herself seriously as a national state, aggravating conflicts of interests arose, but the Brömsebro Pact from 1541 prevented direct confrontation for some time to come.
Around 1560 two young, aggressive kings, Frederik II and Erik XIV had come to power. This led to direct confrontations and the Nordic Seven-Year Was of 1563-70 was the result. The concrete reasons for the outbreak were many and somewhat banal, but basically Sweden felt fenced in by the Danish-Norwegian kingdom.
For some time it had been a nuisance that export south from Småland had to go through Danish territory, and westwards Sweden only had one exposed strongpoint, Älvsborg, at the mouth of the Göta River.
Sweden Felt Fenced-in
The Siege of Elfsborg 1563
Terror against the Civilians
Älvsborg was captured by the Danes in September 1563 and had to be bought back by the Swedes in the final end. Fighting was fierce by land as well as by sea and by the end of the war both countries were almost ruined, among other things because of the cost of mercenaries, who considered looting and ravaging as part of their payment. The strategy was to avoid direct confrontations and military losses and instead let the civilian population be at the receiving end.
The civilian population in the Scanian countries and south Sweden was affected the most. Both parties in the war used terror against the civilian population to an unprecedented extent. Rönneby in Blekinge was attacked September 4th 1564 be the Swedes and king Erik said later:
“The water was coloured red as blood by the dead bodies. The enemies were so frightened, that they didn´t put up much resistance, so we killed them like pigs, and the town lost more than two thousand men, besides the women and children the Fins killed”.
In 1565 Denmark used a blockade of the Sound as a weapon in the war and thus created dangerous enemies. Sweden was self-sufficient with foods, but especially Holland was deeply dependant of corn supplies from the Baltic countries and was severely struck. Famine broke out in the country and Holland and Spain contemplate a war declaration on Denmark. In addition the Sound Duty was increased significantly in 1567. The income from this increased in one year from 45.000 rix-dollar in 1566 to 132.000 the following year, but Frederik II´s 3000 mercenaries cost 150.000 rix-dollar – a month!
September 13th 1570 a peace treaty was signed in Stettin, which tried to take mediation in future conflicts into account.
The Battle of the Sound
Swedish ships in the Sound
|The building of Kronborg started in 1574. Master builder and architect was Hans van Paesshen. He was preceded by Antonius von Opbergen and he covered the castle with sandstones, which was fetched from a quarry in the Helsingborg area.
The castle was inaugurated in 1582, but was not finished until 1583. Both architects were from Holland and the style of Kronborg has been called “Dutch reniassance”.
Scania became for the most part the area of the aristocracy in the course of the 16th century, while the royal power had concentrated most of its estates in North Zealand by trading land with a number of noble families. Thanks to the Sound duty the king was closely attached to Elsinore and the medieval castle Krogen.
|After the Reformation in 1536 the royal power took over the large properties of the church in North Zealand. The king traded with the nobility and could gather his large landed properties in Zealand and during the reign of Frederik II the building of big renaissance castles started.
Changing of the Sound Duty
In 1567 Frederik II, on the suggestion of the vassal Peder Oxe, to change the Sound duty so it no longer was paid by the vessel, but by the value of the cargo. This led to a considerable increase in income. In 1566 they collected 45.000 daler, a sum, which was increased the next year to 132.500 daler. (In the 1620´s the income had increased to approximately 200.000 daler per year) The income became very important and enabled the possibilities to build princely palaces.
A New Castle
In the beginning of the 1570´s the idea of building a more up-to-date military installation than the old Krogen. The project was begun in 1574 and the first phase went on to 1577, when they carried through a revision of the town´s privileges, which involved exemption from taxation and ”freedom of other troubles” for 20 years.
The king stressed in the privilege letter, that new arrivals should have the same privileges as the residents and thus obey the mayor, aldermen and the town council. Probably the king had felt a need for creating better terms for the many arriving craftsmen.
Frederik II and The Building of Kronborg
In connection with the building of Kronborg and the activities surrounding this Frederik II proved to an active and all-round interested renaissance prince. The king followed the building activities intensely, he interfered in the smallest details and he had a decisive influence on the final appearance of the buildings.
Kronborg was not built according to its own plan, but was adapted to the old ground plan of Krogen. Erk of Pommer´s Krogen was a medieval fortress, with a square ground form, 80 metres on all sides and with a house in every corner. On this ground form Frederik II built his Kronborg in two stages.
The king hired two master builders (architects) from Flanders to head the work. These were Hans van Paeshcen (Hans Påske) in the first stage 1574-77 and after that Antonius van Opbegen from Mechelen. Flemish stonemason carried out the masonry, while Danish craftsmen made the woodwork.
From the beginning the castle was built in red bricks with window casings and ornaments in sand stone, but when Antonius van Opbergen took over the building was covered with sandstone slabs. Perhaps they thought that the building thus had a more princely appearance, which clearly distinguished it from the many manors of the time.
Picture From 1582
The Inauguration of Kronborg
In an open letter from January 1577 Frederik II decided that the name of the new fortification was to be Kronborg.
In 1582 the fortification was considered finished enough to he inaugurated and that took place April 15th with the ringing of bells, cannon salute and the distribution of money to the poor.
In the summer of 1582 the castle was used for representative purposes in connection with the king receiving the Order of the Garter from English messengers.
This ceremony took place August 13th and the English messengers Lord Willoughby, wrote in his report to queen Elisabeth that ”all heavy cannons were fired and there was a royal festival and a very elaborate and ingenious fireworks.
The Finished Castle
The great banqueting hall, which is considered to be the largest in Northern Europe, had not yet been used, but the environment was worthy of a Renaissance prince.
The building activities continued and in 1583 the dome on the great tower was finished. In 1585 the castle appeared in the shape that Frederik II wanted.
Kronborg around 1590
Kronborg before the fire 1629
|The building of Kronborg started in 1574. Master builder and architect was Hans van Paesshen. He was preceded by Antonius von Opbergen and he covered the castle with sandstones, which was fetched from a quarry in the Helsingborg area.
The castle was inaugurated in 1582, but was not finished until 1583. Both architects were from Holland and the style of Kronborg has been called “Dutch reniassance”.
The Architecture of Kronborg
In his work ”the History of Kronborg” from 1939 V. Wanscher sums up his art historic description of the castle during its different building stages:
When we are to determine Kronborg´s placing in art history, which we are better prepared than the old, we should stress that this castle is unique among the north European through its greatness and rhythmical idea. Kronborg unites the late Gothic architecture with the renaissance baroque.
The square shape was taken from the time of Erik of Pommern, but still it was not until much rebuilding that Kronborg could fill out and assert the shape.
Such are also the strict processing of the façades, especially the external with their strict walls and widely distributed square windows in the third storey, the watchman´s gallery, the dormer ends and the square corner tower, a heritage from the late Gothic architecture...”
Wanscher thus claims that Kronborg contains elements from three different styles, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. The watchman´s gallery, which Wanscher mentions, was covered in the second building stage, but on the other side even the windows of the castle church in Gothic pointed arch style can be pointed out as another Gothic style element.
Wanscher mentions that the sandstone lining of the second stage, like the building of the east wing are elements, which endow the castle a more homogenous (cubic) character, perhaps inspired by southern palaces. The dominating styles in the external decoration of the castle are renaissance of the strongly decorative Flanders type, with decorated towers, gables, window casings and portals.
If you want to look for models out in the world, you will get lost. This is partly due to the fact that the master builders and the craftsmen had gone away from the uncertain relationships in the Netherlands (The Netherlands suffered under Spanish rule and grave conflicts was especially hard on the Protestants). The Danish king offered safe conditions and career opportunities in the north. Knowledge and competence was imported, but the building became unique and Kronborg had its own style and a unique placing.
The interaction between the towers and the gables are striking. It is typical of the Nordic renaissance, but the extensive decorative touches are also striking.
The east wing, the last to be built, is in its lower part designed with a so-called diamond or ashlar joint. This leads to the Italian renaissance, but once again with a very decorative stamp.
The portals are also numerous. Mercury and Hermes – probably a reference to the importance of the Sound duty, flank the main entrance. Originally this portal was meant for Skanderborg Castle, but it was moved to Kronborg.
The Main Portal, Kronborg
The Castle Yard
The castle church has gothic windows
Wanscher stresses in his description of the castle that details, which was added in the second building stage by Antonius van Opbergen, are done in Baroque, which is very early. This also applies to the now missing dome on the south tower and the end of the church, which is called ”Kakkelborg”, and which appears clearly against the sea.
The East House End, baroque
Fire and Rebuilding
In 1629 the castle burned down almost to the ground. The interior of the castle church with its characteristic woodcuts in coffer style is the only thing that was spared in the fire. The original roof in the banqueting hall was also a coffer roof of enormous dimensions, but it was probably too expensive to replace. Christian IV paid for the rebuilding with his own means, i.e. the income from the Sound duty. The master builder and architect in this third stage was also Dutch, Hans van Steenwinkel. He was behind the arrangements in Baroque style, which is characteristic of many details in the roofs and fireplaces.
In a prospectus from 1645 you see that Frederik II´s dome on the south tower has not been rebuilt. Instead a square superstructure is shown, which no longer exists.
It is remarkable that Frederik II in a letter from January 24th 1577 talks about the castle as ”the new fortification”. (In the same letter he named it Kronborg)
It seems that the king´s ideas of the project developed from being about a modern royal residence to a representative as well as strongly fortified castle.
However, the plans for a fortification of the castle originate from the time before the restoration of Krogen. Christian III hired the Saxon master builder Hans von Dieskau in order to fortify the fortifications of Krogen. A drawing from the hand of Diskau shows that he planned to supply the castle with bricked bastions in the north eastern and southwestern corners. These measures were taken because the war technology of the time was changing rapidly.
The Cannons and the Extending of the Fortifications
The medieval fortress´ fortification consisted mainly of its high wall and sometimes moats, which were hard to cross and from where they could fire at and scald attacking enemies. The increasing employment of cannons in the 15th and 16th century made it necessary to extend and fortify the fortifications. In time even a special military architecture was developed, whose predecessors can be found among the Italian renaissance architects, among them Michelangelo. In 1527 he led the work with the fortifications of Florence.
Even in Kronborg the first master builder Hans van Paeschen built a fortification with four bastions, of which there are still remnants. In his work he was inspired by the fortification of Antwerp. Many of his artisans probably came from there. The second master builder Antonius van Opbergen, built on van Paeschen´s plans in concert with Frederik II.
In connection with Kronborg Frederik 2. let build the summerhouse, Lundehave, one kilometre away in 1587. Lundehave was constructed as a narrow building in three storeys, possibly by Hans van Steenwinckel the Older. It is built in Italian Renaissance style with a garden, also in Italian Renaissance style. Here the royal family could seek shelter from the windy Kronborg and the garden probably also contributed to the housekeeping in Kronborg.
The garden consists of a number of rectangular/square beds, as can be seen in Resen´s atlas, which has been laid out in geometric patterns, for example with star patterns. The planting is low, perhaps bordered with small box hedges and the entire lay out can be surveyed
Lundehave - Marienlyst
Frederik 2.also built the original Frederiksborg Castle, which in the north was surrounded by Lille Dyrehave, which was fenced and held different live animals. With Sparepenge Frederiksborg got a summer castle in Italian Renaissance style. Christian 4. renewed it and lived here, while the building of the new Frederiksborg went on around the year 1600. Between Sparepenge and the main castle a typical Renaissance garden was laid out. It was, like Lundehave, built up by horizontal beds in geometric style.
|Frederik 2´s table canopy is striking example of the princely ornamentation.
A princely castle like Kronborg naturally demanded different kinds of precious ornamentation. To manage this internationally acclaimed artist were hired. The Kronborg tapestries, Frederik 2.s table canopy and the Fountain in the court yard were magnificent works.
Frederik II´s Hangings and Table Canopy
The banqueting hall in the new Kronborg Castle was decorated with a series of hangings/tapestries, which represented (fictitious) Danish kings. The tapestries were made by Hans Knieper form Antwerp. Frederik II let his own effort be immortalized in the central tapestry in Hans Knieper´s famous series of Kronborg tapestries. The king himself is depicted with his son (later Christian IV). A couple of noblemen (of which one is probably Tycho Brahe) also figures in the tapestry.
Knieper was originally a painter, but he also had a certain knowledge of the craft of tapestry weaving and he himself supervised the work in Denmark. The work was quite extensive with 40 tapestries and as the jewel in the crown, a so-called table canopy. In the contract with Hans Knieper it says that in the place, where his beloved queen is, it must say: ”den daselbst sol ein Himmel mit dem Rückstück wie gebreuchlich auffgerichtet werden…”
The royal tapestries were finished in 1585 and that same autumn the began to work on the table canopy. The table canopy was made with every imaginable precision and with ample use of gold and silver threads in the domination silk material. It is vastly different from the more rough handicraft of the royal tapestries.
An Analysis of the Table Canopy
In a Swedish art historic article the work of art is closely described. Among other things it says that it ”in its well preserved state it is one the main pieces among the art treasures in Sweden”.
In the article presents a vivid picture of the impression the work of art may have.
The back piece shows Frederik II´s and his wife Sophie of Mecklenburg´s coat of arms. Behind the coat of arms is a woman, Justitia, the goddess of justice, with a pair of scales and a sword. On the sides are Temperantia, moderation, who mixes water in the wine and Fortitudo, strength, with his attribute, the column.
The royal couple´s coat of arms and the figures are inserted in a richly decorated grotesque composition. Above the coat of arms is an airy, penetrated canopy inserted and on every side there are beams with cherubs making music.
Three big women figures are standing on a narrow plinth. Underneath there are to river gods and different animals.
The canopy has the Danish national coat of arms, surrounded by cherubs, who fly upwards and four round medallions, which all carry royal virtues. Other parts of the canopy have been filled out with the typical elements of the grotesque style: Fantasy animals, figures and flowers. In the border the grotesque ornaments are repeated and between these heraldic badges have been inserted. In the art historic article it is stressed that ”everything is a magnificent expression of the grotesque style in its Dutch form.”
All in all the canopy´s composition harmonize with the woven tapestries. The total impression is marked by grotesques, a genre, which was modern in the middle of the 16th century. The composition can be ascribed to Cornelis Floris, but in the strong lines there is also an influence from Vredeman de Vries.
Frederik II´s Table Canopy
As early as 1576 Frederik II ordered, probably on Tycho Brahe´s recommendation, ”a work of water art” for Kronborg´s large courtyard with the famous bronze caster G. Labenwolf in Nuremberg. It took seven years before the masterpiece could be inaugurated, which was done with great festivity. The long delivery time did definitely not suit Frederik II and written sources tell of many problems along the way. Among other the things the sculptor was threatened by the Nuremberg city council with a prison sentence if he did not fulfil his obligations as a ”subcontractor”. The reason for the sculptor´s problem is indicated when the magistrate in Nuremberg in 1582 forbade him to enter ”the cellars” and ”public houses” for the duration of the work. That helped! In 1583 the fountain was delivered.
The fountain´s theme is the sea and the marine animals. An easily understood allegory with the sea god Neptun (Frederik II) on the top of the fountain as the ruler of the sea (the Sound) and with an abundance of wealth (the Sound duty).
The Fountain´s Fate
In 1659 the Swedes attacked Denmark without real success. When retreating they plundered Kronborg as well as Frederiksborg Castle, which, in a cultural historical perspective, was a national catastrophe for Denmark.
The fountains in both castles were dismantled and were taken to Sweden as booty. They thought that the Kronborg fountain had been melted down and made into church bells, but later research has shown that three goddess figures has survived and could be seen in Sweden´s National Museum since 1917. One amusing detail in the ”proof” of the authenticity of the goddesses was that a close inspection of the their nipples showed that there are holes in them for the water of the well and holes in the bottom, in order for the water to be led into the figure.
Frederik II´s table canopy had a somewhat gentler fate and this magnificent gem can also be admired in Sweden´s National Museum.
|Elsinore as well as Malmo show examples of distinguished houses from the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th
Elsinore flourishes and is considerably extended. Here is the row of houses in Stengade 70-76, in Elsinore, where a late gothic stone house, the present judges´ office, is succeeded by gable house with typical Renaissance marks.
The building of Kronborg was founded on a practical cooperation between the royal power, the town and many hired craftsmen, who lived in Elsinore. The activities surrounding the building, but even the increasing trade and the business brought in by the Sound duty, led to the increase of the population. This also led to a clear element of foreign inhabitants, for instance Germans, Dutchmen and Englishmen. This meant that new houses had to be built. Some of the houses had a direct connection to the work in Kronborg. This was the case with for instance the customs officer David Hansen’s house in Stengade 76, built in 1579.
Jörgen Kock built a stone house in Malmo around 1525 – an early example of the affluent resources of the upper classes. The house still has the staircase house ends of the Gothic, but the horizontal bands of sand stone and the decorations of the house end front anticipates the entry of the renaissance style.
Stengade 70 - 76
Kock´s House, Malmø
Apart from stone houses there are many half-timbered houses in renaissance style. A beautiful example of this is mayor Iver Pedersen´s estate (from around 1600) o the corner of Stengade and Skyttenstræde.
Half-timbered houses in renaissance style are common in the entire Sound region and not least in Ystad, whose atmosphere is reminiscent of that of Elsinore.
|Tycho Brahe lived worked in Ven for 21 years (1576-97). He performed astronomical and meteorological experiments there, which he carefully noted, he performed chemical experiments, grew plants, made astronomical tools, drew maps, wrote poems and much more.
With his versatility Tycho Brahe was a typical example of a renaissance man.
Tycho Brahe - Childhood and education
|Tycho Brahe was born December 14th 1546 in the estate Knutstorp in Scania, but was literally abducted and raised with his childless uncle Jörgen Brahe in Tosterup in southeastern Scania.
This was not uncommon within the aristocracy, as kin was more important that your own family.
Tycho Brahe - a Renaissance Man
In the year 1634, when a French messenger, Charles Ogier, after having visited Elsinore, left the town and travelled south towards Copenhagen, he saw the island Ven and this made him think of the world famous astronomer Tycho Brahe.
It is doubtful if you can perceive the almost square shape of Ven from the coast of Zealand, but it is no coincidence that Ogier noticed this. The symmetrical, well ordered and continuous appeals to the renaissance man, the scientist Tycho Brahe, who Danish standards is the best example of a universal genius in the spirit of the renaissance.
Map of Ven
Tycho Brahe was born a nobleman and it was therefore expected of him that he would make a career for himself as a landowner, warrior and perhaps member of parliament, as so many other in his family. Tycho had, however, a somewhat ambivalent relationship to his noble colleagues.
Tycho Brahe was born December 14th 1546 in the estate Knutstorp in Scania, but was literally abducted and raised with his childless uncle Jörgen Brahe in Tosterup in southeastern Scania. This was not uncommon within the aristocracy, as kin was more important that your own family. The Brahe family is portrayed in Kågeröd church, which was the patronage church of Knutstorp. The plaque is from 1613, after the death of Tycho Brahe. Tycho (the scholar) sits next to his father and after him you see the brothers, Sten, Axel, Jörgen and Knut. Next to the mother sit the sisters Lisbeth, Margareta, Kristina and finally Sophie Brahe, who was very close to Tycho.
At the age of six Tycho started school, which was not uncommon among the aristocracy. Uncommon was however the interests, which he developed. At the age of twelve he entered the University of Copenhagen, which at the same was open and marked by the renaissance humanist currents of the time.
We know, form his book collection, that he in this period was interested in astronomy. In his study travels in the beginning of the 1560´s he started, under cover of law studies, to practise this science. As travel companion Tycho had the commoner Anders Sørensen Vedel, who also was an important renaissance figure. He collected and published old Danish folksongs.
Anders Sørensen Vedel
|During his stay with his uncle Steen Bille in Herrevadskloster in 1572 Tycho Brahe observes a new star in the constellation Cassiopeia. We know now that it was a so-called super nova, a dying star
The account of this discovery becomes the start of Tycho Brahe´s fame. In time Tycho Brahe also reaches a total picture of the universe, but it doesn´t correspond to that of Copernicus´.
Nova Stella and the New Picture of the Universe
Tycho studied abroad and did not return to Denmark until the end of 1570. He spent his time with his uncle Sten Bille, who was very much interested in chemical and mechanical experiments.
In November 1572 Tycho Brahe observed in Herrevadskloster what he thought was a new star in the constellation Cassiopeia. Strongly encouraged, but against his will, he published a book on the new star in 1573. It was controversial for a nobleman to engage in such matters and the book is prefaced with a number of arguments pro and against a publication.
The book, which was printed in a few copies in Copenhagen was written in Latin and contained apart from the thesis on the new star, an astrological and meteorological almanac for the year 1573, a thesis on a future lunar eclipse and finally a poem dedicated to the god Urania.
This may seem as a strange concoction, but in Tycho Brahe´s mind there was a connection between the different parts.
Tycho Brahe´s picture of the world
Picture of the world
The Importance of the Empirical Knowledge
Perhaps Tycho Brahe did not realize the importance of his observations. The leading astronomic perception was that the universe had been created by chance and that there had been no changes without God´s direct participation. Thus they perceived the universe af static. Therefore it was sensational that Tycho Brahe had discovered a change in the firmament and this discovery led to the conception of a dynamic universe. Via later publications he contributed to such a conception. The great importance of Tycho Brahe was his exact empirical observations. Experience had greater importance and the sense of a static cosmos retired.
Tycho Brahe showed that the universe is much greater than hitherto assumed and that it developed and changed continuously. However, he could not accept Kopernikus´ new picture of the universe with the sun and not the earth as the centre of the universe.
Tycho Brahe´s picture of the world
When Tycho Brahe a few years later in Ven in 1577, had studied a comet, he wrote down his observations in the small publication ”Om kometen”, which became another example that you could draw empirical conclusions.
Tycho Brahe mixed empirical observations with astrological predictions. His astrological predictions he commented thus:
”... even if it is hidden for everybody to know the right reasons for future things, you can however, from the old experienced astrologers´ observations and knowledge, get some indications of things that these miracles in the sky and do and this can be done without any superstition at all.
Tycho Brahe demonstrated his dissociation of superstition knowing well that the reputation and position of astrology was much debated, not least in the church and among the thinkers of the renaissance. But astrology still had a certain official status. The royal power demanded that Tycho Brahe make predictions and he drew up the horoscope of the crown prince.
The starting point in astrology was the fundamental observations about the influence of the planets, for instance that the sun provided heat and light and that the moon changed the level of the sea. Furthermore they saw that the alternation between summer and winter was dependant on the position of the planets. It is not strange that they attributed importance to the position of the planets. Although Tycho Brahe had doubts about superstition he attributed astrology an certain importance, an importance he later south to limit.
He even attributed the belief in God importance, but approached the idea that God was the initiator of the system, but he did not intervene in the course of history and could not be influenced by prayers or rites, i.e. a deistic perception.
Tycho Brahe in time won great recognition and from 1574 he lectured at the University in Copenhagen, which was notable for an aristocrat. He was even offered the position as rector of the university, but refused. The offer still testified to the recognition, which was offered him, also on the part of the royal power.
|In Ven Tycho Brahe built a renaissance castle, which became his residence as well as his research centre. The whole building was very symmetrical. Order and coherence was important.
Uraniborg in Ven
The renaissance prince Frederik II saw Tycho´s greatness and offered his support. February 18th 1567 he was awarded a yearly sum of 500 daler, a very large governmental support. The king had, during his inspections in the building site of Kronborg, come to think of the island Ven as a suitable place for Tychos activities. Tycho was offered the island on favourable terms, if it could prevent him from leaving Denmark. Tycho Brahe accepted.
A Symbolic Castle
The central part of the ground plan was made up of a square, which measured 60 feet, approximately 15,5 metres on every side. This square was divided by perpendicular corridors, which formed four smaller square rooms. The corridors also tied the central part with symmetrical extensions in the north and south and with symmetrical entrance portals in east and west.
The building consisted of two storeys, attic and basement. On the outside there were balconies, which were used for astronomical observations. The basement functioned as a chemical laboratory.
Astronomy and chemistry/medicine was the sciences he was to engage in and two statuette niches marked this over the entrance portals. Two short Latin inscriptions connected these allegorical works of art: Despiciendo suspicio och Suspiciendo despicio, which roughly means, ”When I look down, I look up” and ”When I look up, I look down”. The first maxim refers to the chemical experiments and the other undoubtedly on the astronomical observations. The deeper meaning is that chemistry and astronomy are connected.
It was important that the instruments were completely stable, which was difficult in a buidliing. This is why Tycho Brahne built Stjärneborg, where the instruments were placed on the ground or even underground. This made the foundation so stable that technical errors were almost eliminated.
The layout of Stjerneborg
Venter på tekst
Uraniborg - a View of Life
Uranienborg was not only Tycho Brahe´s home and workplace, but it also expressed architecturally and in other ways, the philosophy and the view of life, which characterized Tycho Brahe. A belief in research and the mapping of reality was to make us understand the cosmological connections.
A Renaissance Garden
The garden was, just like the castle, very symmetrical lay out. They also considered the practical use of a garden and planted fruit trees and sowed vegetables and herbs, which could be used in medical recipes.
We know that Tycho as well as his learned sister Sophie Brahe, who lived with him for long periods of time, devoted themselves to the manufacturing of medicinal preparations, in fact to such an extent, that the pharmacies in Copenhagen complained about the competition. It is very likely that Sophie Brahe participated in the lay out and the care taking of the garden, although there are no evidence of this.
Tycho Brahe leaves Ven
Tycho Brahe stayed in Ven for 21 years until 1597, when felt forced to leave Denmark. It is said that he had fallen out with the inhabitants in Ven, that he neglected his duties and that the new king Christian IV did not support him like Frederik II had done.
The circumstances surrounding Tycho Brahe´s fall are still unclear and much debated. Form Rostock Tycho Brhae wrote the kin in 1597 that he had not gone into exile and emphasized his loyalty. The king reproached him for having left without permission and pointed out several unsolved problems. He wrote of the peasants in Ven: ”There have been complaints about you from our poor subjects in Ven”. And of Tycho´s negligence of the church in Ven: ”...as the word of the baptism have been neglected with your knowledge for a long time against the use of the realm that is notorious for anybody”.
That Tycho Brahe did not take care of his estate obligations is probably correct, but one may wonder why the controversy with the peasants was brought up in a time, where it was the right of any lord of the manor to exploit his subjects and when the plight of the peasants was increased significantly.
If it is true that they had omitted certain parts of the baptismal rite in Tycho Brahe´s time in Ven that could be a serious matter. The baptismal rites and especially the devil incantation, which was part of it, was one of the theological disputes of the time. Exorcism, a Catholic ritual, was still present in the Lutheranian church, but many did not like it and wanted to get rid of it. This was the view of the supporters of the Calvinistic reformation.
The conflict about the exorcism broke out seriously, when the priest Iver Bertelsen in Møn took out the incantation from the rite and was put on trial in 1567. Iver Bertelsen spent 3 year in prison, before Frederik II pardoned him. In 1588, during the regency of Christian IV a new case cropped up, when the priest at the Holy Spirit Church in Copenhagen, Jon Jacob Venusin, at a christening omitted the Devil incantation. Three weeks after this they issued in the king´s name and with threats of punishment a ban on ”resuscitating undue disputes”. Venusin, who came from Ven, where his father had been the vicar, was the brother-in-law of Tycho Brahe´s son-in-law.
It was around this time that the king began to attack Tycho Brahe. Firstly the accusations were directed against the vicar in Ven for not having punished Tycho Brahe of his lack of Communion and his immoral behaviour. The allusion was Tycho Brahe´s life together with a non-aristocrat, something which was not illegal in itself. Last, but not least the priest was accused of having omitted the Devil incantation on the request of Tycho Brahe. The priest lost his job and the next time around the accusations were directed against Tycho Brahe himself.
Another complaint against Tycho Brahe was that he had produced medicine without the permission of the church.
It was not only the dissatisfaction of the peasants and the dissatisfaction with the neglecting of his duties, which caused him to move. The suspicion of the church about his astrology, his medicine and not least his liberal religious views in a time of strict Lutheranian orthodoxy, may have been decisive.
Tycho Brahe´s correspondence with the king was not published until the king´s death in 1648. In 1597 Tycho wrote a poem of his break with Denmark. Here is a section of the poem:
”Denmark, what have I have for you to cast me off so cruelly?
How can you, my native land, treat me as an enemy?
I have lifted your name, it is mentioned far and wide with honour
how can you be angry that my work has encircled you with roses?
Tell me, which of your children have given you better things to own?
Are you angry that high in the vaulted arch, native country?
Your name I wrote in twinkling stars
Why thrust me aside? Sometime you will remember me.
In days to come my worth, my work will be understood,
By children of a later generation, everything that I gave for you to build”
Tycho Brahe died in Prague in 1601.
|Sofie was, like her brother, gifted in many ways and she had many interests. She spent a lot of time doing genealogical studies of Danish noble families, but she was also very interested in gardening, medicine, astrology and astronomy and she was at her brother´s side during the years in Ven.
Sofie Brahe also made medicine and in 1625 she sent a recipe for plague elixir to Christian IV.
A Renaissance Woman
Charles Ogier relates that he met Tycho Brahe´s sister Sofie in connection with his leaving Elsinore in 1634. She was then almost 80 years old, had survived her famous brother with almost 30 years, and had lived in Elsinore sine 1626.
Sofie was, like her brother, gifted in many ways and she had many interests. She spent a lot of time doing genealogical studies of Danish noble families, but she was also very interested in gardening, medicine, astrology and astronomy and she was at her brother´s side during the years in Ven.
Sofie Brahe also made medicine and in 1625 she sent a recipe for plague elixir to Christian IV.
Epitaph in Kågeröd
The Garden Art of Sophie Brahe
Unfortunately we don´t know much about the garden art of Sophie Brahe, which is praised by her brother. She has probably helped her brother in the garden in Hven, but she also grew her own garden in the estate Eriksholm in Scania and later in Elsinore, where she owned a town house with adjoining land on the outskirts of town and close to Kronborg.
A letter to the Swedish nobleman Johan Sparre from September 14th 1629 testifies to her knowledge. The first part is about genealogy - she had borrowed and corrected some genealogical tables. Then she writes about bulbs and how to handle them.
The Idea of the Renaissance Garden
The garden layout of Uranienborg was, as seen in contemporary engravings, a square layout marked by symmetry down to the last detail. The outer shape was probably fruit trees surrounding the inner part with the geometrical beds, which contained utility as well as ornamental plants. The transition between the two parts is marked with four identical summerhouses.
Uranienborg´s garden is special with the consistent symmetry, which probably refers to the area´s scientific nature. In this sense the garden fully lives up to the idea of the Renaissance garden. It must divert, but also challenge and stimulate the curiosity of the visitor and incite intellectual and spiritual absorption. The pleasant is combined with useful, and the planting testifies to this. (Picturesr: Villa d ´ Este and Leiden).
Norton´s Botanical Work 1597
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