Sex ”dalmålningar” på Svenska institutet i Rom
Title: Six Dalecarlian Painted Tapestries at the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome
In the art collection of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome, there are six “dalmålningar” (“dala” or “kurbits” paintings) whose origin, provenance and motifs have not previously been treated in a scholarly context. In fact, their existence is probably unknown to researchers in the field. Five of the paintings are genuine “dalmålningar”, i.e. painted tapestries made in the province of Dalecarlia (central Sweden), in the area around Lake Siljan, during the 18th and 19th centuries. Four of them are by one of the most famous painters, Hjelt Per Persson (1821–1886), while the fifth is a “wedding plaque” whose author cannot be determined. The sixth and largest painting is actually a Småland tapestry painted by Per i Duvhult (1787–1862), one of the foremost representatives of the Breared school, active in the borderland between the provinces of Småland and Halland (southern Sweden). All the paintings were made during the period 1836–1840. In the article, the individual works are dealt with in turn, their motifs described and their sometimes almost illegible and fragmentary texts interpreted. How and why the paintings ended up at the Swedish Rome Institute during the Second World War is something of a mystery and the article ends with a summary of what the author has been able to find out about their provenance – and a hypothetical reconstruction of their path to Rome.