Gripsholmstavlorna åter omtolkade. En kommentar till Herman Bengtssons artikel i ICO nr 1/2, 2019

  • Bo Vahlne


Title: The 16th-century paintings from Gripsholm Castle interpreted once again. Some notes on Herman Bengtsson’s article in ICO nr 1/2, 2019
Adding a new interpretation to those previously presented, Herman Bengtsson takes a step towards clarity and another towards uncertainty. A hypothesis based on a hypothesis reduces any certainty. The small watercolour drawings of the lost paintings have not been analysed thoroughly enough to serve as historical sources. There seems to be two ways of treating the paintings, either as exempla or as a representation of contemporary history. In both cases the paintings could well be compared to tapestries, which Bengtsson also suggests. When it comes to exempla my main objection is that the identification of the story as depicting Virginia or Lucretia is not sufficiently well-founded. The illustration of Virginia’s death in the Latin-German Ab Urbe-edition of 1533 is used as Camilla’s death in the 1523 edition. Thus Lucretia’s history need not be based on the so-called Virginia illustration since she appears on her own in all the editions up to the 1570s. There are better grounds for treating the paintings as visualising the history of Erik XIV. The earliest certain notation (1715) points to this and the clothes depicted in the copies are more modern than those shown in Ab Urbe. Since almost nothing that could be called fact is known about the lost paintings, construing a hypothesis that is not based on the information from 1715 only increases the uncertainty.

How to Cite
VAHLNE, Bo. Gripsholmstavlorna åter omtolkade. En kommentar till Herman Bengtssons artikel i ICO nr 1/2, 2019. ICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildtolkning – Nordic Review of Iconography, [S.l.], n. 3-4, p. 48-58, july 2020. ISSN 2323-5586. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 05 dec. 2023.