Of course a banqueting hall should be lavishly decorated! This is why the lord of the manor one day decided to invite a painter to his house. Bold knights and elegant ladies, exotic animals and fierce hunting scenes, sheer tomfoolery as well as symbols from ancient times were to be painted on the walls of the hall – and everything should be in the colourful style he had seen at the neighbouring church of Østerlars.
Ever since we built the manor, we have had a wish to decorate the walls of the house with murals of the kind you see in many of the well-preserved Danish medieval churches. Most scientists see a tendency in European medieval culture (to which Bornholm and the rest of Denmark belonged) to fill every possible surface with decorations, patterns and adornments. Apart from church murals, we see this trend in painted chests, shrines and furniture as well as in monumental stone edifices, elaborated gold jewellery, multicoloured glass windows and, last but not least, in tapestry and wall paintings.
It is therefore very probable that the lord of our manor would have wanted to decorate his house, as a sign of the family’s wealth and fortune. Today, the colours on church murals appear subdued but at the time they were bright and clear and must have made a strong impression on our medieval ancestors.
Now try to imagine the painter and his apprentice at work in the church of Østerlars some time around the middle of the 14th century.
At a stone’s throw from there, the lord of the manor lived with his family, and he, too, wanted his walls beautifully decorated. He therefore invited the painter to come and stay and eat at his house, and in return for this hospitality, the painter decorated his hall. They even may have become friends…
What is happening?
Our project "Living pictures” spreads over 2 years.
At the manor house, you can see the artist in action, ask about the meaning of the motifs, the fastness of the colours or about colour pigments and technique.
You can also see the exhibition Living Pictures at our show room.
Here, you can listen to the story of the new paintings in the manor house. You can see examples of the fabulous tapestries from secular houses still to be found today in castles and townhouses throughout Europe. We invite our visitors to think about the way we decorate our houses nowadays. What do we put on our walls? And why?
In our cinema, you can see a number of short films about murals, one of them takes the perspective of the mural restorer whose difficult task it is to uncover and preserve the fragile paintings on the walls of our churches.
There are plenty of opportunities to try out for yourself the painting techniques of the Middle Ages. You may even be able to produce a gothic smile!