Explanation in english
Back to Nordens kirker
Welcome to this page about danish church-art from 1100 to 2000. This is a private site made for people, who like to know a little about danish church-art ore like to prepare a visit in a church. We are sorry, that we not are able to translate all the text in danish to english because of our poor english (we are sure you already are aware of that), but we hope this small explanation will make it possible for you to derive some profit from the pictures. Every month we will publish about 10 churches, you can see them if you press "Månedens kirker" (ups, you might have problem with some danish letters) and choose one of the links in black, the churches in brown letters are the churches I will show next month. On the front page of the church you will find a text in danish and some links in black, if you press this links, you can see more pictures from the church. If you choose "Tidligere viste" on the Home page, you can see churches I have shown earlier. You can choose between "Liste over landsdele" (this I will explain later) ore "Alfabetisk liste over kirkerne på denne side" where all the churches on this site are arranged alphabetically.
In the following I will try to tell briefly the story of danish church art. The links are to picture on this site. Use the "going-back arrow" in your browser for coming back to this page.
In front of the church in Jelling we can see a rune stone from about 960, that tells us, that the king Harald introduced christianity to Denmark. This is not truth, we know, that christianity came to Denmark about 700, maybe earlier, but it was the upper class and foreign merchants that build small churches, king Harald tell us, that in 960 the official religion in Denmark was christianity, ore at least the king was christian.
The first churches we know is from about 1100 and are build of granite, earlier churches may have been build of wood. Denmark was a diocese under the archbishop in Bremen (south of Hamburg). In 1100 Denmark was independent from Bremen and got an archbishop in Lund in Skåne (now in Sweden). From about 1200 the churches mainly was build of bricks.
We find early danish church-art in the portals and baptismal fonts made of granite, specially in the eastern part of Jutland, the baptismal fonts with lions are of very high quality
From the middle of 1200 we can find baptismal fonts made of limestone imported from Gotland
Mural paintings have been a greater part of the decoration from 1100 to 1600. In Råsted kirke we can see mural paintings from 1100-25, in Fjenneslev kirke we can see mural paintings from 1125-50 and in Måløv kirke we can see mural pantings from 1150-75.
In Birkerød kirke we can see mural paintings from 1325-50, in Kongsted kirke we can see mural paintings from 1425-50.
In Sønder Asmindrup kirke we can see mural paintings from 1460-80, in Elmelunde kirke we can see mural paintings from about 1500 and in Vrå kirke we can see mural paintings from about 1525
In 1536 converted the danish church from the Roman Catholic church to the Lutheran church. We can find mural paintings from after the conversion to the Lutheran church in 1536, in Tullebølle kirke we can see mural paintings from about 1560
We can find crucifixes and altarpieces from about 1300 and on, a very famous wood carver was Claus Berg from Lübeck, who had a workshop in Odense, we can see his great altarpieces in Bregninge kirke (Ærø hr.), in Sankt Knuds kirke in Odense and in Sanderum kirke.
In the first half of 1600 Abel Schrøder made several altarpieces to churches in the southern part of Zealand
From about 1450 to 1650 we can find a greater part of gravestones and epitaphs with coat of arms, it is very interesting to study the relations between the aristocracy from that time
If you want to go further with this matter you can look on the site Gravsten og Epitafier, where you can se a list of gravestones and epitaphs plus genealogical tables. Press the link below, press "Kirker" and choose the first letter of the church, then you will come to a group of churches that first letter and you can choose the church you want to see.
In the middle of 1800 the danish priest Grundtvig made a spiritual revival, this inspired a great deal of danish artists to make a new Christian art with roots in the gothic art. Joakim Skovgaard was the leader of this artists
Through 1900 new artist has developed the church art, Peter Brandes has in modern time made some famous stained-glass paintings in Vejleå church in Copenhagen and in Gamtofte church on the island of Funen, he has just finished stained-glass paintings commissioned by Roberta og Howard Ahmanson to a church in Los Angeles.
On the front page you can press on "Links" and get a list of sites that can be of interest, if you want to know more about danish church art. Unfortunately they mostly are in danish, so below I have found some links to sites in english that could be of interest.
The National museum of Copenhagen has a site in english about the middle age, press the link below.
The hollyday home company Cofman has a site with a small explanation in english on most of the churches in Denmark, you can also see on a map where the church is located. Press the link below, a small page will ask you to register, you don't need to, just press Annuller.
Press the link below and read an article about danish church frescoes.
Press the link below and see danish church frescoes.
If you press "Tidligere viste" you can find churches shown earlier. If you press "Lister over landsdele", you will find a list of parts of the country. Denmark consist of 4 larger parts, the island of Zealand (with Copenhagen), the island of Funen, the islands of Lolland-Falster and the peninsula of Jutland.
The division of Denmark on this site is not the same us on the site of Cofman, but I think you will understand. Copenhagen you will find under
I wish you a pleasant time. If you still have problems send a mail to