Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DENMARK: FREDRIKSBORG CASTLE AND THE LDS TEMPLE

About 30 miles north of Copenhagen is Fredriksborg Castle, built between 1560 and 1620. (As a basis for comparison, Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616.)  It is the largest Renaissance palace in Scandinavia.  If I ever need an illustration for the word "splendiforous," I think I will choose one of these shots:

I think if I were a little girl, I'd be daydreaming about living in this castle.  Actually, I am dreaming about it right now...

The ornate Palace Church defies description:

On the walls are the coats-of-arms of the recipients of Denmark's royal orders:
Recipients include many well-known dignitaries, including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill,
and Dwight D. Eisenhower:

After seeing Thorvaldsen's Christus, I was excited to have an opportunity to see more Danish art that has become so beloved by members of the Mormon faith, specifically the large collection of Carl Bloch paintings that are on display at the Fredriksborg Castle.  BYU alumni are well-acquainted with Bloch's painting of Christ at the Pool of Bethesda, owned by the LDS Church and on display in the Museum of Art at BYU:
In fact, the Church uses prints of many of Bloch's paintings in their temples and meeting houses, which has actually been a significant force in popularizing his work. (Even Wikipedia mentions the LDS Church in its article on Bloch.)  Carl Bloch (1834-1890) was born in Copenhagen, lived for some time in Italy, and studied under Rembrandt.  In 1865-1879 he was commissioned to create 29 paintings of the life of Christ for the Frederiksborg Chapel.  I expected to see a glorious exhibit in a warmly-lit room with soaring ceilings, much like the room in the MOA where the above painting is on display.  I was somewhat disappointed that the room where the paintings hang is dark and crowded, with lights that cause a glare and with pillars and other objects that obstruct a full view of the works.

However, our guide helped me have a better experience by pointing out that the art is on all four walls; indeed, Christ was everywhere we looked.  Similarly, we should surround our lives with the life and example of the Savior.  Most of these photos are of poor quality, but they provide an accurate idea of the viewing conditions of the tiny room:




In the final analysis, there was something charming and even spiritual about the humble presentation of these masterpieces, especially in contrast to the magnificence of the rest of the palace.  (Note: I did buy a book in the gift shop that shows all of the paintings in much more favorable lighting.)

The remaining rooms of the palace include the living quarters and ceremonial rooms of Danish kings, as well as the repository for the royal family's art collection.  Fredriksborg Castle is also famous for its beautiful grounds, seen here from one of the palace windows:
This is not just your average drapery. It's marble:


This chandelier may have been my favorite thing in the castle . . .

. . . second only to this disappearing chair that the king or queen could use to escape an annoying guest:
I need one of these for when my brother comes to visit.
Get a load of these ceilings--not a good place to be in an earthquake.  (Does Denmark HAVE earthquakes?  Apparently not if these have lasted 500 years.)

The royal pets weren't very friendly, but my brave husband knew just how to handle them:

Andrew had told me about lenticular paintings, which are painted on a zig-zag or corrugated surface.  From one side, the viewer sees the portrait a man, and from the other side a woman.
The head-on view is, well, interesting:

We loved our visit to this fairy tale castle, complete with a lazy moat:


On our way back from Fredriksborg, we made one more stop at another important castle, a somewhat newer (dedicated in 2004) and smaller structure (built on less than an acre of land and having about 25,000 square feet):

This temple, like the Vernal Utah Temple, is a renovation of a church meetinghouse, the neoclassical chapel dedicated by Elder John A. Widstoe in 1931:
View from the Temple steps, looking across the street:

Finally, here are a few fun shots to close out this post.  This was the chair in our hotel room:

And these two shots are of our delicious dinner, eaten at a posh little outdoor restaurant next to the river:
Lumpfish roe (raw fish eggs) with foam on top
Meats, cheese, mushrooms, and bread. 

4 comments:

  1. The castle is quite amazing--imagine the staff it would take to keep it vacuumed and dusted!

    How wonderful to see the Bloch art in person.

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  2. I think Fredricksborg was more impressive than any English castle I've visited from the standpoint of furnishings and paintings. I still love the English castles from a battle standpoint, the walls and moats. But as one to live in, I'm with you, this would be it.

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  3. Loved this post. I became lost in the glorious surroundings of that castle and the beautiful photos, all the Bloch paintings (and your perspective on the displaying of them), the temple, the interesting food (foam?) and wished I could be there. What a fine picture of you two as well! Thanks for posting these.

    E.

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  4. I'm just going to "ditto" Letterpresses' post above. I,too, became overwhelmed with the incredible views your pictures provided. Artwork was/is profound. Why, in all of your photos, does the sky look so vividly blue, the grass so beautifully green, all the flowers so, so colorful? Really enjoyed this post. I was trying to figure out how you were to eat the salmon colored "imitation crab" that was under the molded crushed "ice". Foam . . . pass. :-)

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