House of Greifen

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German family of patrons and collectors. Pomerania-Wolgast and Pomerania-Stettin (Szczecin) were the most important (and the only secular) domains of medieval Pomerania, ruled by the Greifen dynasty. Over the centuries its members founded, built and extended many towns, castles and palaces, some on a lavish scale, within the constantly moving borders of its territories; few remain. At the beginning of the 15th century Vratislav VIII, Duke of Pomerania-Wolgast (reg 1457–78), had the ambulatory of the Petrikirche in Wolgast decorated with murals (uncovered 1942). About 1490 Bogislav V, Duke of Pomerania-Stettin (reg 1474–1523; VIII, Duke of Pomerania-Wolgast, reg 1478–1523), settled in Stettin and extended its fortress (1368) in the style of his time; almost all subsequent rulers had the palace enlarged and modernized. His son Philip, Duke of Pomerania-Wolgast (reg 1531–60), also had the palace in Wolgast enlarged and built a luxurious hunting-lodge at Ückermünde. His brass epitaph (1560) by Wolf Hilger I (1511–76) is in the Petrikirche, Wolgast. The inventory of his estate lists paintings, armour, silverware, coins, books and an important collection of tapestries. His grandson (1) Philip, Duke of Pomerania-Stettin, became the most important collector and patron of art in the Greifen dynasty. In the year of his death (1618), the appearance of Pomeranian towns and residences was recorded in 49 engraved views in the margins of the large (1.25×2.21 m) map of the region (Amsterdam, 1618; Kiel, Stift. Pommern) designed by Eilhard Lübben [Lubinus] (d 1621). The dynasty became extinct at the death of Duke Bogislav VII of Pomerania-Stettin, IX of Pomerania-Wolgast (1580–1637), and its art treasures were subsequently scattered and destroyed to an unusual extent (now primarily Greifswald, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt U.; Berlin, Staatl. Museen Preuss. Kultbes.; Szczecin, N. Mus.; Słupsk, Mus. Cent. Pomerania). After the Peace of Westphalia (1648) Pomerania was divided between Sweden and Brandenburg. West Pomerania is now in Germany and east Pomerania in Poland.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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