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German and Flemish in the Harad Altarpiece: A Provincial Swedish Work with Far-reaching Connections

German and Flemish in the Harad Altarpiece: A Provincial Swedish Work with Far-reaching Connections

By Carol Earl

Fornvannen: Journal of Swedish Antiquarian Research, Vol. 103 (2008)

Abstract: The provincial altarpiece above the main altar in the parish church of Harad in Sodermanland shows diverse influences upon its authors. A close examination of this Late Medieval Passion piece gives us opportunity to comparre the impact of German and Flemish works of art in Sweden upon its craftsmen. This traditional altarpiece combines characteristics typical of both German and Flemish retables. Other influences such as the historical development of skilled workers in Sweden, the physical situation of the church in the proximity of Strangnas Cathedral, its supposed patron saints and the involvement of the commissioner of the work are taken into consideration, as well as the artistic ability of the craftsmen themselves. Finally an analytical approach to provincial works is proposed using the parallel case of the Ljusdal and Oviken altarpieces.

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