Gripsholmstavlorna och den svenska renässansen. Om Lucretia, Paris’ dom, Actaeon och Diana och andra populära motiv vid vasahovet
Title The 16th-century paintings from Gripsholm Castle and the Swedish Renaissance
In the early 18th century, several large Renaissance narrative paintings were discovered at the royal castle of Gripsholm, Sweden. Since they were in a poor state of preservation and erroneously believed to depict scenes from Swedish history they were reproduced in five watercolours. The original paintings were soon lost. They probably date from the 1540s or 1550s and were used as wall hangings. Swedish art-historians have generally argued that the decorations were intended for the Hall of state at Gripsholm Castle, although this seems rather dubious. The iconography has also been subject to some debate. According to the most widespread interpretation, the scenes illustrate the story of Verginia from the Ab urbe condita by the Roman author Livy (+ AD 17) but also hint at Gustav Vasa’s heroic war of independence against his predecessor, King Kristian II of Denmark. With reference to the inventories drawn up in the 1540s and 1550s, however, it is not unlikely that the paintings depicted the legend of Lucretia, which was very popular and widespread in Northern Europe during the early Renaissance. This fits in well with Gustav Vasa’s ambition to create representative interiors decorated with moralizing and entertaining narrative scenes from the Bible and classical authors like Livy and Ovid.