The Miracle of the Harvest. The Cistercians, French Connections and the Hegwald Workshop on Gotland

  • Harriet M. Sonne de Torrens Department of Visual Studies and UTM Library, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada


This article examines the representation of the Miracle of the Harvest, a rare pictorial motif on thirteenth century works, which was carved on four baptismal fonts by the Hegwald workshop operating on Gotland. The unique pictorial representations of this legend on the Hegwald fonts indicates that the workshop was most likely operating around the year 1200 or in the early decades of the thirteenth century and not, as Johnny Roosval suggested in 1918–1925, in the late eleventh or early twelfth centuries. Central to the development of the Romanesque font industry on Gotland was the arrival of the monks from the Cistercian monasteries of Clairvaux and Cîteaux in France, to Alvastra, Nydala (both on the Swedish mainland) and to the Baltic island of Gotland in 1152/53–1164, where the Cistercians founded the monastery of Beata Maria de Gutnalia (Roma). With these developments, a massive stone industry evolved across the North and introduced a major influx of French influences that impacted the numerous workshops producing baptismal fonts, including Hegwald’s. A review of the tetradic scholarship concerning the Hegwald workshop, the subject of the Miracle of the Harvest, the known written and visual evidence, and the construction history of the parish churches, is integrated and analysed within the historical context of the twelfth-and-thirteenth-century Danish-French alliances that contributed to these Baltic developments during the Valdemarian dynasty (1157–1241).

How to Cite
DE TORRENS, Harriet M. Sonne. The Miracle of the Harvest. The Cistercians, French Connections and the Hegwald Workshop on Gotland. ICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildtolkning – Nordic Review of Iconography, [S.l.], n. 1-2, p. 25-83, nov. 2020. ISSN 2323-5586. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 july 2024.