Due to the well-known Beelderstorm on the continent, the around sixty preserved Netherlandish carved altarpieces in Scandinavia comprise valuable information about the development of techniques, styles, forms and iconography of altarpieces made in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Apart from addressing this ‘material reservoir,’ this talk also venture into how Netherlandish altarpieces from this period reflect contemporary religious reforms and thus acted as transmitters of religious culture when travelling north. I will focus on three of the Antwerp imports made in the 1510s or 1520s, namely Ulkebøl (Denmark), Ringsaker (Norway) and Botkyrka (Sweden). On the one hand these three serve as examples of the ‘infinite variety’ of Netherlandish carved altarpieces. On the other hand, however, they add to the contextual discourses of late medieval Netherlandish art, visualising and reflecting changing modalities of persuasion (Ulkebøl), concepts of gift-giving (Ringsaker) and habits of religious reading (Botkyrka). How were these three and others perceived when merging with local customs and local settings?
The talk departs from the ongoing project Image, Imitation, Indulgence: Netherlandish Art and Devotional Practices in Denmark-Norway c.1400-1600, which is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (2017-2020).