Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great Defeats: Visby

This painting depicts how the Danish king Valdemar IV - called "Atterdag" is ransoming the town of Visby on Gotland in 1361. The people has to bring a large amount of money otherwise their town will be burned.
Later this was regarded as a black day in Swedish history. The Swedes are symbolized by the mayor and his family in the center. They resemble the holy family. On the right the bad cruel king can be seen.
In spite of the lot of historical details the painting isn't very historical at all. The artist Carl Gustaf Hellqvist (1851 – 1890) painted it 1882 in München impressed by German medieval architecture and museums. So the houses are looking more like medieval Nürnberg than Visby.

But finally it is a construction similar to that of Royer's Vercingétorix. Hellqvist and his public knew that Sweden will defeat Denmark one time and that Gotland will be part of Sweden.

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