Thursday, 1 March 2018

Bollnäs Church and its wooden sculptures - medieval art at 61ºN in Sweden

Church view from 1910.

The 14th century Bollnäs Church is a rare medieval church at a latitude over 60º N. The church houses a number of Medieval wooden sculptures.

Bollnäs is located in central Sweden on the shore of Lake Varpen.

Coordinates: 61° 21′ N, 16° 24′ E

The tower with three bells was extensively refurbished in 1931.

The origin of the church is mostly unknown, but there was a wooden church in Bollnäs in the early 1300s. The present day church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and had later alterations, mainly in the 18th century.

An opening ceremony took place in 1468 led by Bishop Andreas of Linköping, as a titular (the last) bishop of Greenland.
The nave with the pulpit (left) and the suspended Cross.

Painted vault and cross

The Triumph Crucifix, ca.1500, possibly a work by Haaken Gulleson

Three significant works of art from the late 15th century or early 16th century, are the high altar, the great altar tryptich and the  Maria altar cabinet, considered to be Haken Gulleson's most impressive artwork from the time (ca. 1520).

The high altar tryptich

Manufactured in Stockholm by Jordan Painter, this work is recognized by the style. It was most likely made for the inauguration of the church in 1468.

The doors of the cabinet have beautiful paintings on the outside. On the inside of the doors are the apostles depicted with their attributes.

Little Madonna of Bollnäs

Haaken Gulleson was a Swedish painter and workshop leader in the early 16th century. He worked mostly polychrome painted wood carvings.

She wears the crown as Queen of Heaven, and on her left arm she carries the infant with a book.

She is a typical Gulleson work, with her heavy eyelids and bully cheeks and pink on cheeks, chin and nostrils.

The Madonna at Uppsala Cathedral during the exhibition Himlen är här (Heaven is here).

Indeed, a northern treasure in a remote country.


 A book:
 "Medeltida träskulptur från Bollnäs kyrka"