Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Art in the Castle

Intarsia woodworking on the walls

The Kalmar Castle in Sweden
How is your Scandinavian History? Today we learned about the Kalmar Union and the Stockholm bloodbath when Denmark invaded Sweden during the time of the Kalmar Castle.Then same King Vasa that built the failed ship resided here with his two sons. We stopped in the city of Kalmar on our way to Copenhagen. I really loved the different art seen in the many rooms. Most impressive was the intarsia technique which is inlaid wood. Various types and sizes of wood were painstakingly cut and puzzled together to form different pictures all around the castle walls and ceiling. There were also the normal tapestries hanging in several rooms. An ornate woodcarved bed was found in the queens chamber. The length of the bed was short because they slept sitting up so not to disrupt the humors or fluids in the body.
There were also frescoes painted in many of the rooms.(can be seen above then dinner table). Frescoes are wet plaster that is painted on.
Some of the artwork was original while others had been restored. The wood panels had wormwood holes in the original pieces. The stairway was made from old tombstones laid down like tile on the steps and landing. We also saw this in the cathedral in Stockholm.
One of the most interesting displays was the dining table that displayed a swan, peacock, and pigeon that was stuffed. They were mostly for show on the table. The king usually ordered 50-100 dishes for the dinner. There were fish pies sometimes stuffed with live birds. The swan was hollowed out and served with a marzipan dessert. There were eggs displayed on the table that they added a leech to wriggle across the table for fun. The castle tour was very interesting and the best part of the simple town. The whole town attended a rock concert at night that was located outside our hotel front door. We were in the center of the action! Earplugs were supplied on our nightstand.

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