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8.3 Hendrick Goltzius’ prints

The volumes of Denmark’s Churches makes it evident that Hendrick Goltzius’ prints were indeed readily available throughout the 17th century. It is perhaps not surprising that one of the earliest cases is an altarpiece for a large and politically important town: the altarpiece of St Nicholas Church in Kolding of 1589 [i][i]. It was donated by the Majesty’s lieutenant at Koldinghus, Caspar Markdanner. In Thøfner’s aforementioned study, she showed how the prints were adapted to the Kolding altarpiece in a manner that had specific, local meaning. Inscriptions were added that appropriated the images to a Lutheran orthodox understanding of the Eucharist, while the identity of the donor was stated no less than three times on the altarpiece, apparently to indicate the Majesty’s lieutenant’s position in Kolding and express Markdanner’s personal virtue as an example to follow.1 Thøfner did not consider the role of style in this context, but the choice of a contemporary, highly Mannerist model can probably be related to the political ambitions expressed by the altarpiece. Through his close ties to both the Danish king and the imperial court in Vienna, Markdanner must have been sensitive to the predominance of mannerism as the international court style of the day. By opting for strongly mannerist prints the altarpiece becomes visually associated with the court and thus with the ambitions to restore the Majesty’s lieutenant’s political role within the relatively autonomous city of Kolding.

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Anonymous  after Hendrick Goltzius, Altar piece from St. Nicolas church Kolding (Denmark) with the Resurrection of Christ, dated 1589

Anonymous  after Hendrick Goltzius
Altar piece from St. Nicolas church Kolding (Denmark) with the Resurrection of Christ dated 1589
oil paint / panel, ? x ? cm
Sankt Nikolaj Kirke (Kolding), Kolding (Denmark)



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Hendrick Goltzius  published by Philips Galle, The resurrection of Christ, 1578

Hendrick Goltzius  published by Philips Galle
The resurrection of Christ 1578
copper engraving / paper, 264 x 185 mm
Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, no. RP-P-1885-A-9313



The Kolding altarpiece is perhaps a special case, as the donor had very close ties to the Oldenburg court. Nevertheless, Goltzius’ prints seem to have been available to artists in all over Denmark no later than 1600, as they have been identified as the models for furnishing in both large regional centers such as Helsingør, Ribe and Horsens as well as dozens of parish churches. While these many works of art contributed to establishing Netherlandish Mannerism as the ‘official’ style of the day, the almost synchronic appearance of Goltzius‘ compositions in art produced on both Zealand and Jutland strongly suggests that Goltzius’ popularity cannot merely be said to sift down from the Oldenburg court, but must also reflect the influence of international trade routes between the regional centers of Denmark and The Dutch Republic.

A closer look at the material makes it clear that Goltzius’ largely supplied Danish artists with single figure compositions. By far the most popular was the series The Virtues engraved by Jacob Matham c. 1585-1589 (New Holl. 477-483) [i][i], which has been identified as the source for both altarpieces, pulpits [i], epitaphs, stools and altar panels [i], whereas the 1593 series The Virtues Standing in Niches are less frequently found.2 The popularity of The Virtues can surely be seen in relation to their flexibility of the subject matter, as personifications of Faith, Charity, Hope or Constancy were appropriate not only as secondary figures on altarpieces, but also on the pulpit where they were used both as the main decoration of the arcades and, more commonly, transformed into herms and placed at the corners of the pulpit [i].

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  attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius, Strength (Fortitudo), c. 1587

  attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius
Strength (Fortitudo) c. 1587
copper engraving / paper, 217 x 144 mm
Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, no. RP-P-OB-27.300



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  attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius, Faith (Fides), c. 1587

  attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius
Faith (Fides) c. 1587
copper engraving / paper, 217 x 144 mm
Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, no. RP-P-OB-9893



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Jørgen Ringnis  after attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius, Hope (Spes), dated 1633

Jørgen Ringnis  after attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius
Hope (Spes) dated 1633
wood, ? x ? cm
Kippinge Kirke, Guldborgsund



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Anonymous  after attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius, Altar piece from Serridslev church (Denmark) with the last supper, dated 1656 and 1666

Anonymous  after attributed to Jacob Matham  after Hendrick Goltzius
Altar piece from Serridslev church (Denmark) with the last supper dated 1656 and 1666
oil paint / panel, ? x ? cm
Serridslev Kirke, Horsens



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Anonymous  after Adriaen Collaert, Staint Luke, c. 1625

Anonymous  after Adriaen Collaert
Staint Luke c. 1625
wood, ? x ? cm
Gørløse Kirke, Gørløse



Another very popular print was the Homo Bulla of 1590 (New Holl. 529) [i]  which ranks among the most frequently used in Danish religious furnishings during the second half of the 17th century [i].3 It appears in particular on gravestones and epitaphs, and often in combination with an image of the Resurrection [i]. As such, the boy sitting on a skull would encourage the beholder of the epitaph to not only reflect on the brevity of his own life, but even to long for the promised afterlife.4 In both cases the prints were typically integrated in a larger program, where the Virtues elaborated on the main theme of the altarpiece or pulpit. As we shall see, such an orchestration of several images based on inter-confessional prints was a very common way to bestow a furnishing with new and often distinctly Lutheran meaning.

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Hendrick Goltzius  possibly after Agostino Carracci  published by Hendrick Goltzius, Homo Bulla, 1590

Hendrick Goltzius  possibly after Agostino Carracci  published by Hendrick Goltzius
Homo Bulla 1590
copper engraving / paper, 212 x 156 mm
Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, no. RP-P-OB-10.228



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Lauritz Riber  after Hendrick Goltzius, Sepulchral tablet to Jens Christensen Vamdrup (†1613) with putto blowing soap bubbles (Homo Bulla), dated 1599

Lauritz Riber  after Hendrick Goltzius
Sepulchral tablet to Jens Christensen Vamdrup (†1613) with putto blowing soap bubbles (Homo Bulla) dated 1599
oil paint / panel, ? x ? cm
Sankt Nikolaj Kirke (Kolding), Kolding (Denmark)



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Anonymous  after Hendrick Goltzius, Epitaph for priest Jens Pedersen Bay and his two wifes, dated 1678 and 1681

Anonymous  after Hendrick Goltzius
Epitaph for priest Jens Pedersen Bay and his two wifes dated 1678 and 1681
oil paint / panel, 96 x 83 cm
Vær Kirke, Horsens



Religious prints were only a minor aspect of Goltzius’ production, so it will come as no surprise that Danish artists only made use of a limited number of his prints for Biblical narrative scenes. Nevertheless, his The Passion of Christ engraved in Lucas van Leyden’s style 1596-1599 (New Holl. 17-28) was one of the most widely used series in Denmark.5 The Passion was hugely popular throughout the 17th century. Goltzius’ copper plates were still in use at the Amsterdam publisher Dancker Danckerts,6 and other publishers, such as Claes Jansz. Visscher, copied the prints to market their own versions of the popular series, and the very popularity of the prints make it impossible to know, which ones were available in Denmark, if not all. Of the series of 12 prints, two were particularly popular among Danish artists, The Last Supper [i][i] and Christ on the Cross [i][i] (New Holl. 17 and 26). This must be seen in relation to Lutheran orthodoxy’s preference of depictions of either the two Lutheran sacraments (baptism and the Eucharist) or depictions of the subject-matter of the second article of The Apostle’s Creed. In particular it became customary in Denmark to base altarpieces on a representation of The Last Supper and, depending on the size of the altarpiece, added images of The Crucifixion and The Resurrection. One can only speculate as to why Goltzius’ version of The Resurrection did not find the same favor as the other two motifs; perhaps the relatively withdrawn representation of Christ made the print less suited for an image that was to be seen from considerable distance? As for The Last Supper it was particularly well suited to express the Lutheran understanding of the Eucharist, as Goltzius’ composition included the large figure of a disciple who reaches for a ewer of wine in the foreground. This prominent theme can be seen as an expression of the Lutheran view that not only the bread (as Catholic customs held), but also the wine had to be administered to the communicant.7 Thus within a Lutheran context Goltzius’ composition could visually emphasize the difference between the old and the new liturgy.

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Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius, The Last Supper, dated 1598

Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius
The Last Supper dated 1598
copper engraving / paper, 202 x 135 mm
Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, no. RP-P-OB-10.036



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Hans Barchmann  after Hendrick Goltzius, Altarpiece in Gerlev church (Denmark) with the Last Supper, 1631

Hans Barchmann  after Hendrick Goltzius
Altarpiece in Gerlev church (Denmark) with the Last Supper 1631
wood / panel, ? x ? cm
Gerlev Kirke, Frederikssund



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Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius, Christ on the Cross, 1596-1598

Hendrick Goltzius  published by Hendrick Goltzius
Christ on the Cross 1596-1598
copper engraving / paper, 202 x 135 mm
Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, no. RP-P-OB-10.045



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Hans Nielsen Bang  after Hendrick Goltzius, The Crucifixion, detail of pulpit for Nørre Åby Church (Denmark), 1649

Hans Nielsen Bang  after Hendrick Goltzius
The Crucifixion, detail of pulpit for Nørre Åby Church (Denmark) 1649
wood, ? x ? cm
Nørre Åby Kirke, Nørre Aaby





[1]

Thøfner 2011, pp. 119-121.

[2]

In particular The Virtues became a favored motif for Jens Olufsen, Varde, and can be found on his pulpits for Aal (1637, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 2, Copenhagen 1984, p. 1333), Skast (1652, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 3, Copenhagen 1988-1991, p. 1860), Bryndum (1638, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 3, Copenhagen 1988-1991, no. 1944) and Guldager (1635, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 3, Copenhagen 1988-1991, no. 2079). Furthermore the prints have been identified in Vallekilde (1605, Danmarks Kirker. Holbæk Amt 4, Copenhagen 1991, no. 2500), Church of Our Saviour, Horsens (1670,  Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 10, Copenhagen 2004-2005, no. 5522), Serridslev ( Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 9, Copenhagen 1996-2002, np. 4956), Frederiksborg Castle (early 17th century, Danmarks Kirker. Frederiksborg Amt 3, Copenhagen 1970, no. 1890), Vester Nykirke (1637, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 3, Copenhagen 1988-1991, no. 1730) and Lindknud (c. 1640, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 6, Copenhagen 1991-1994, no. 2691).

[3]

Gjern (early 17th century, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 7, Copenhagen 1990-1991, no. 3343); Guldager Kirke (1635, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 3, Copenhagen 1988-1991, no. 2070); Torstrup (1659, Danmarks Kirker. Ribe Amt 3, Copenhagen 1988-1991, no. 1436); Vær (1678, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 9, Copenhagen 1996-2002, no. 4897); Falling (1681, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 5, Copenhagen 1983-1987, no. 2736); Horsens Klosterkirke (1703, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 10, Copenhagen 2004-2005, no. 5949); Søvind (18th century, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 9, Copenhagen 1996-2002, no. 5035).

[4]

Bach Nielsen 1986, pp. 4-10.

[5]

Tranebjerg (1615, Danmarks Kirker. Holbæk Amt 4, Copenhagen 1990, 2590); Kolby (1620, Danmarks Kirker. Holbæk Amt 4, Copenhagen 1990, no. 2648); Gerlev (1631, Danmarks Kirker. Frederiksborg Amt 4, Copenhagen 1976, no. 2526); Slangerup (1632, Danmarks Kirker. Frederiksborg Amt 3, Copenhagen 1970, no. 2088); Slangerup (1650, Danmarks Kirker. Frederiksborg Amt 3, Copenhagen 1970, no. 2094); Almindelig Hospitals Kirke, Helsingør (1669, Danmarks Kirker. Frederiksborg Amt 2, Copenhagen 1964, no. 526); Veng (1700, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 6, Copenhagen 1988-89, no. 3234); Borum (1701, Danmarks Kirker. Aarhus Amt 4, Copenhagen 1980, 1995); Rørvig (1708, Danmarks Kirker. Holbæk Amt 4, Copenhagen 1990, no. 2070); Slangerup (1650, Danmarks Kirker. Frederiksborg Amt 3, Copenhagen 1970, no. 2094).

[6]

 Van der Waals 2006, p. 202 (appendix 2).

[7]

 De la Fuente Pedersen 1998, pp. 187-188.

Datum laatste wijziging: Apr 21, 2015 01:02 PM