Sculpture Journal

The beginnings of Gothic ivory sculpture: recent discoveries in a group of Danish ivories

Sculpture Journal (2014), 23, (1), 31–39.

Abstract

This article argues that a number of ivories in Denmark - exquisite representatives of the ‘year 1200 style’- are the work of a French or at least French-managed team of imagiers who would have been summoned to the country c.1220 and who took a leading role in gothicizing Danish polychrome wooden sculpture. Such a French (and not English) connection exemplifies well-attested contacts between elites of the two kingdoms. Two new discoveries are here brought forward as evidence: first, an Adoration group that can be linked to the learned Archbishop Anders Sunesen of Lund, who studied theology and philosophy in Paris, as well as law at Bologna and Oxford. Secondly, the enigmatic Herlufsholm crucifix figure, which can be linked persuasively to a huge wooden crucifixion group (mostly burned in 1806) formerly in Roskilde Cathedral, where both written and stylistic evidence as well as the cathedral architecture itself speaks for a marked French impulse in the first quarter of the thirteenth century.

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Author details

Nyborg, Ebbe