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Master of Tortuna

(fl. c. 1490—1503)


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(fl c. 1490–1503). Painter, active in Sweden. His known work comprises only the wall paintings of Tortuna Church in Västmanland, two painted wooden crosses (Falun, Dalarnas Mus.; Dalarna, Evertsberg Chapel) and the painted wings of an altarpiece in Venjan Church, Dalarna. He was apparently active in Sweden only for a short time. The paintings of Tortuna Church are among the most interesting medieval Swedish paintings to survive. Parts of them have been destroyed, but enough remains to give an idea of the style and of the programme, which is extremely well conceived. The paintings are expressive and highly original, covering the entire space like a tapestry. The figural scenes, separated by slender arcades, play against a background of leaves and large, elaborate flowers on the vaults and piers. The colours were red, turquoise, yellow, green, black and white, but most are now changed or faded. The figure style is mannered, stylized or very realistic, depending on the subject- matter. The programme strongly promotes the doctrine of Transubstantiation and the Eucharist and stresses the importance of the Rosary and the necessity of praying for souls in Purgatory. An expressive representation of the Last Judgement with the Nine Orders of Angels and the Seven Mouths of Hell (the Capital Sins) was placed opposite the original entrance. The programme is unique both in the choice of motifs and in its effect; the artist may perhaps have been a cleric.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.



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