Tierp school

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Term applied to a group of Swedish wall-painters, working mainly in the eastern parts of Uppland from c. 1460 to 1500. The group attracted followers both in Uppland and the northern parts of Sweden, who were active until c. 1520 and who have often been included in the Tierp school. However, since they also learnt from such figures as Albert the painter, and differed from the original group in several ways, they should not be regarded as part of the Tierp school. The term should be reserved for the earlier group, which appeared in the 1460s and received its name from the best-preserved cycle of paintings, in Tierp Church (c. 1470). It is not known who was the leader of the group or workshop, although several painters belonging to it are known by name. A strong candidate for this role is no doubt Andreas Erici, whose signature has been found in several churches (at Alunda, Skuttunge and Österlövsta). Erici is also the first of a number of painters mentioned in an inscription in Alunda and is the only one given a second name, which might indicate that he was above the others in rank. To judge from the names, these artists were of Swedish origin. Several of them had learnt from the painter Johannes Ivan and were probably employed by him at Alunda, where they had to finish the paintings when Ivan died in 1465. The Tierp school inherited several stylistic features from Ivan, such as his way of reserving the walls for the holy stories and covering the vaults and ribs with foliate decoration, especially a chain-like motif consisting of stylized leaves in a row dividing each section of a cross-vault into two. The vaults also contain paintings of saints. The foliate vault ornamentation of the Tierp school has a characteristic seaweed-like appearance, and seems to grow along the ribs of the vaults. The painters also adopted the style of broken drapery-folds, and often depicted elongated Gothic figures. The backgrounds are filled with decorative motifs, including a stencilled flying bird, especially typical of the school. Except for the prophets, there are no references to the Old Testament in the paintings—a fundamental difference from the work of the contemporary artist Albert the painter, who worked in the same province. It has been suggested that the painter Peter Henriksson (fl Finland, c. 1470–90) came from the Tierp school. Although this is possible, there are differences, both stylistic and iconographic, between his work and that of the Tierp school. The problem of his origins has not yet been sufficiently investigated.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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