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Olav den helige i medeltida bildkonst: Legendmotiv och attribut
Stockholm University.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This iconographical study includes all pictorial narratives from the legend of the Martyr King Saint Olav and a variety of samples of his symbolic attributes in representational images. Olav II Haraldsson was king of Norway 1015-1030. After his martyrdom at the Battle of Stiklestad on July 29th 1030 and enshrinement on August 3rd 1031 in Trondheim, the tomb shrine was translated to Nidaros Cathedral, a Nordic main centre of pilgrimage. Many churches in Scandinavia are dedicated to Saint Olav and the images are often placed as triumphal motifs at the altar of the patron saint, "the pillar of the church", at the southern part of the triumphal arch in the nave.

The catalogue and indexes contain around 500 works of medieval art in Scandinavian and other European countries, from Romanesque and Gothic to Early Renaissance, mostly from parish churches, such as murals, shrines and altarpieces with panel paintings and wooden sculptures, but also as illuminations in liturgical books and law codes or seals and stone sculptures. The pictorial narratives contain ten hagiographical events from the Vita et Miracula of Saint Olav, his conversion, baptism, voyage, arrival and coronation, vision of paradise, death at the Battle of Stiklestad and crowning as martyr, enshrinement and miracles. Both narrative and symbolic images have been compared with corresponding episodes and themes about Saint Olav in medieval texts from the period 1040-1540, liturgical poems, legends and homilies or chronicles, sagas and ballads, both in Latin and in vernacular languages.

The general comparative analyses show a close relation between art and liturgy during the Feast of Saint Olav, from the vigilia on July 28th to the octave on August 5th, in repertoires of both the Divine Office and Mass, especially the themes of voyage and battle. Modelled after biblical kings, prophets, wise teachers and apostles, fulfilling the prophecy of Imitatio Christi, the image of Saint Olav embodied his divine role as intercessor for the congregation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International , 1999. , 430 p.
Keyword [en]
Iconography, Martyr, King, Saint Olav, Shrine, Nidaros Cathedral, Liturgy, Legend, Saga, Pictorial narrative, Prayer, Baptism, Sailing, Dream vision, Battle, Coronation, Attribute, Book illumination, Mural, Altarpiece, Panel painting, Wooden sculpture.
National Category
Art History
Research subject
History Of Art
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-64918ISBN: 91-7402-298-9OAI: diva2:459798
Public defence
1999-11-25, 10:00
Available from: 2011-11-28 Created: 2011-11-28Bibliographically approved

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