12/12/2013

Not all portraits are portraits

Danish queens
Queen Margrethe, queen Philippa and queen Dagmar

These are three medieval queens from Denmark: Margrete I (1358-1412 - perhaps most famous for founding the Kalmar union. She was the youngest child of Valdemar Atterdag, king of Denmark and married to Håkon VI of Norway, but due to turn of events, Margrete ended up ruling Denmark, Norway and Sweden for quite some time. If we are to be precise, her title never actually was 'queen', but she still embodies much of how we picture a successful medieval queen), Philippa of England (or Philippa of Lancaster; 1394-1430, who married Eric of Pomerania - the successor to Margrete I) and Dagmar of Bohemia (originally Markéta, about 1186-about 1212, and the first wife of Valdemar II).

These three ladies really are depicted as the beautiful and nobles women - but that is not to say any of them looked anything like this. Instead these are 19th century sculptures (Dagmar was made in 1845 and the two others in 1856) by the Danish artist Hermann Wilhelm Bissen and they are a fine example of the love for historical figures but also historical styles at this time - artists went to great length to make things look medieval, perhaps at times making things MORE medieval looking then they were in the Middle Ages. How close or far away these three portraits are might be hard to say - but the faces do perhaps look more like something we would associate with the 19th century more than anything else.

The statues are now on display at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.