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The oldest parts of the church at Hyllested have been tracked back to around 1200

The paintings in Hyllested was not discovered until 1964 and they have been very carefully recovered without making any repainting of the less visible parts.

They are from around 1500 and are probably painted by the same painter as the ones in Gjerrild Church.

If you never seen a Danish church you probably wonder why a ship model is hanging from the ceiling.

This is an old tradition in Danish churches which you can read about at this site

Church Wall paintings in Denmark
Danish frescoes
Danske Kalkmalerier

Denmark probably has the largest amount of medieval wall paintings in Europe. In Danish they are called Kalkmalerier = Lime paintings, as they are painted on a layer of limewash. Most of these paintings are from churches and Denmark has about 1700 preserved medieval churches. Most of them has probably been decorated with wall paintings.

Today we have about 600 churches with visible paintings and there are probably many undiscovered paintings behind the many layers of limewash which was used during the 18th and 19th centuries to cover the paintings.

Why cover them?
Perhaps a change in taste, but as you will see, some of the paintings also were very obscene and grotesque which during the pietistic 18th century was considered not suitable for a church.

The oldest paintings from 1100-1300 are of Romanesque type and were painted by painters imported from south Europe, but during 1300 -1600 it changed to a Gothic style and Danish painters took over and developed there own style.

The very first wall painting which was uncovered in Denmark was in the Cathedral of Roskilde in 1826. The Cathedral is one of the 3 Unesco World Heritage sites in Denmark.

The oldest painting in Denmark is from around 1100 and was found in the church of Jelling in 1874. The Jelling Church, the burial mounds and Jelling stones is another Danish World Heritage site. The paintings in the church today is a reconstruction as it was not possible to save them with the methods they had in 1874.

Introduction to the restoration of Danish wall paintings
by Kirsten Trampedach - National Museum of Denmark

Danske Kalkmalerier a database by Axel Bolvig at the University of Copenhagen


© Hans Nyberg


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ISO 50, Bracketted 3 shots

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