Wendelius teckningar föreställande Esters historia. En kommentar till Bengtsson och Vahlne samt en nytolkning av de så kallade Gripsholmstavlorna
Title: Wendelius’ Drawings Depicting the Story of Esther. A Comment on Bengtsson and Vahlne with a New Interpretation of the so called Gripsholm Paintings
A few drawings at the Royal Library in Stockholm have aroused considerable debate among Swedish art historians (figs. 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7). According to sources contemporary with their production in 1722, they reproduce large paintings kept at Gripsholm castle representing the story of king Erik XIV. Twentieth-century art historians have suggested a number of alternative iconographies, mostly alternative sequences of Swedish history or classical motifs. The drawings have been addressed recently in ICO by Herman Bengtsson and Bo Vahlne. The present article argues that the motifs are from the Book of Esther. The claim is supported by the juxtaposition of two scenes representing a woman before a throne and a triumphal scene (Esther before Ahasuerus & Mordecai’s triumph), the bright yellow dress of the female protagonist (a common symbol for her Jewishness) and her swooning before the throne. Comparisons are made with the Alfta hanging representing Esther (fig. 1) and a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi (fig. 4). The iconography of the drawings is based on Catholic sources, suggesting they were produced in Poland in the 1540s and could have come with Catherine Jagelleonica’s entourage to Åbo and then to Gripsholm in the early 1560s.