Community, Travel

On Top of the World in Norway

Interested in seeing breathtaking views, experiencing a relaxing atmosphere, walking mountain trails through a UNESCO heritage valley and staying somewhere where an Emperor has stayed and with, shall we say, a chequered history? If so, then Stalheim hotel, in the mountains of Norway, between Gudvangen and Voss, on the West Coast, is the place for you. It certainly was a favourite spot for Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.

I arrived here on the famous Norway in the Nutshell Tour, which takes you from Oslo, by train, across the eternal snows of the Hardangervidda plateau.

view
Hardangervidda

The train then takes you as far as the mountain station of Myrdal, and from there you are required to change trains to traverse down the mountain range to the fjord below, on a spectacularly steep cog railway, (or Flambåna).

The trip doesn’t end at Flam either, for it is there that you move on to a boat for a cruise through the fjords, before finally reaching the town of small port of Gudvangen on the way to Stalheim. The cruise passes through Aurlandsfjord, Sognfjord, and into the narrowest parts of Nærøydal fjord, listed as UNESCO World Heritage areas and spectacular and unearthly scenic vistas such as this:

Cruising
Heading towards the narrow and steespest part of the Nærøyfjord

From the port of Gudvangen, you then take the public bus to the high peaks of the ‘fjeller’ – that’s Norwegian for mountains, to Stalheim where the hotel is located.

Stalheim hotel is only open in the summer months, as the mountain road leading to the hotel consists of 13 hair-raising bends, and is considered too dangerous for public transport, in winter. If your heart doesn’t falter going up, this is the reward.

My view from the Stalheim hotel

Unrivalled views can be had down the UNESCO protected Nærøydalen Valley where mountains look so like ‘trolls’ and people tinier than ants.

If you are into exploring, you can even find a Machine gun bunker underneath the terrace which dates back to the days of the Second World War.

You will want to have dinner and breakfast at Stalheim, for there is little alternative options close by, and the meals are usually included in the tariff. That leaves you with more time to savour that wonderful view. There is also a small folk museum behind the hotel to wander through.

My son in younger days, posing with a Gandalf-style ‘Lord of the Rings’ Pipe he purchased, beside an amazing view through our room’s expansive windows at the Stalheim Hotel

A Chequered History

The original hotel was built in 1750 as a postal inn, and during the late nineteenth century was modelled into a guesthouse on the road between Oslo and Bergen. It has burnt to the ground several times and been re-built each time.

In 1939, during Nazi German’s occupation of Norway, Stalheim hotel was taken over by the German Army as a site for Soldiers on R and R leave. The notorious Heinrich Himmler then concocted a plan to address the low birth rate of German citizens and produce more of his so-called Master Race, by setting up Stalheim and other places as a ‘Lebensborn’ home. This was to be a place where Norwegian woman who were already pregnant, or were willing to become pregnant, to German soldiers, could stay and give birth. There were eight Lebensborn homes in Norway – the former Stalheim hotel was one of them.

The hotel was again cursed by a fire in 1959, and sadly, 34 lives were lost. However, it was rebuilt into the current structure we see today.

PhotoCredit: Stalheim.com

Here is a video of the road down to the fjord and village of Gudvangen.

Stalheim Hotel – A fascinating place to stay with unparrellel views.

Something to Ponder About

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Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Chair

We all use them.

Functional, practical, comfy, sometimes stylish.

Who invented the chair?

The ancient Egyptians are believed to be the first to invent a four-legged seat with a back,… The earliest examples have been found in tombs dating as far back as 2680 B.C”

The most common theories are that the chair was an outgrowth of indigenous Chinese furniture, that it evolved from a camp stool imported from Central Asia, that it was introduced to China by Nestorian missionaries in the seventh century, and that the chair came to China from India.

Here are some of my favourites.

You will find this photo challenge is alternately hosted each Friday by the bloggers:
Something to Ponder About  and The Snow Melts Somewhere

Thanks to Snow for this week’s excellent prompt for Friendly Friday. I’ll be back next week with a new prompt. Be sure to check out all this week’s participants linked in the comments section on Snow ‘s blog.

Something to Ponder About

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igeland Sculpture Park, Oslo
Community

Harry does it again. The Redbreast Book Review

Norway

It is 1942: a Norwegian soldiers fighting on the Eastern front, on the German side, is killed. One of his comrades, injured in the same incident, falls in love with a Austrian nurse whilst recuperating.

57 years later, a Detective in Oslo with the unlikely name of Harry Hole is appointed to the Norwegian secret service, his brief is to monitor Neo-Nazi activity in Norway: a fairly mundane assignment that turns out to be anything but….

Norway Akerhus
Akershus fortress in Oslo where scenes in the book are set

 

With many parallels to recent world events and rising anti-multicultural sentiment, Nesbø’s, ‘The Redbreast‘, (which won the Glass Key, the Riverton and the Norwegian Book club Prize for the best ever Norwegian Crime Novel),  will take the reader both on a historic and also a contemporary journey.

Chillingly ironic and yet at times, familiar were some of the attitudes found amongst the more despicable characters in the book. It digs deep into the hearts and minds of those Norwegians who felt passionate enough to risk their lives, fighting alongside and for the Nazis, during the war. They believed in saving Norway from, what they saw, was the Bolshevik advance.

The Novel delves into their individual motives and how they might have felt on their return to Norway, when they discovered they had been labelled ‘traitors,’  shunned by their own society after war’s end; a topic rarely written about in the Western world.

 

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A different perspective can reveal things hitherto unseen, and at times, I was surprised I that Ifelt a little sympathy for these men, despite philosophically being poles apart from them.  It made me question the modern politic climate of Norway. The massacre on Utøya, Norway and now the terrorist attack on the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, which appears to have links to Utøya, made me wonder  if there might be some more citizens with these beliefs, hidden surreptitiously, under a guise of normality. Let’s hope not.

 

Oslo fjord
Oslo fjord

The Good: Following a hunch that several murders are linked, Harry pays a high personal price in the book, but still manages to find a little romance in all the horror. I found this an unlikely but interesting diversion, but it provides Hole with a clue vital in solving the mystery.

The Bad: Although we know the killer’s mind from the start (but not who he is), he remains carefully hidden through out the book, his actions being explained by a slightly unbelievable trip to a psychiatrist.

The Ugly: One wonders how many readers might feel sympathy for these “traitors” or even perversely idolize them as historic “warriors,” using this as justification for the Neo Nazi  “thuggish” behaviour. I am not sure.  Yet there is still the theme of redemption offered up to readers too, albeit in small amounts.

This was the first of the Harry Hole series to be translated into English, and since then, every book in the series has been translated and was a best seller.

Recommended for those who like Nordic Noir/Scandi Detective fiction and have not yet read Harry Hole.

StPA’s Rating: 7/10

 

 

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Architecture

Værnes Church, Norway c 1085

Nidaros Domkirken
Nidaros Cathedral

One attraction that everyone comes to see in Trondheim, Norway, is Nidaros Cathedral and yet it is the nearby Værnes church in Storjdal that, for me, holds more fascination, at least in a historical sense.


Not only does the Værnes Church have a purpose-built ‘Weapons House,’ that dates back to Viking times, but  you get to see Viking age architecture in regular daily use and see some of Scandinavia’s earliest church frescoes.

Weapon house
The Weapon House

In the 11th Century, any self respecting, newly Christianized, Viking carried with them a range of knives, axes and other paraphernalia used in defence, and weapons such as these were banned from Church. When the Priest really wanted the new Christians to attend Church, he had to provide a purpose built structure to safely lock up any instruments of death. And so the Weapons House was built. Ten centuries on, I believe the ‘House,’ now accommodates nothing more deadly than a garden hoe or lawn cutter.   [Watch out for your toes].

Photo credit Spottinghistory.com

The interior of the church takes the visitor straight back to the 11th Century and is every bit as unique as the Weapon House. The roof trusses, pictured below, span 11 metres and are completely original. This is Viking carpentry at its finest and it is the only original roof of its type, still in existence. Notably, the trusses were used as a design template in reconstructing the roof of Nidaros cathedral and Håkonshall in Bergen.

Værnes kirke, Stordal, Norway
Værnes Church at Stjørdal dates back to 1085 AD and is the oldest church in Norway.

What you see above you, at Værnes, is what a Viking saw ten centuries ago.

A raised and carved chair (c 1685), see above, was constructed as the private pew of General Von Schultz, the local Squire. It makes me slightly recoil to tell you this but, the wooden lattice ‘cage’ below was for the wives to sit, ( either Von Schultz or the Pastor’s wife. It is embarrassingly even referred to as a ‘wife’s cage.’ Awful, I know, but that is history.

Detail in the carving

Faces carved into the interior of this elevated chair are thought to depict the face of Von Schultz, but no one is quite sure of that. To me, some of them more resembled a gargoyle or the “north wind.”

Vaernes kirke
Frescoes on the walls of the church in Stjørdal

The wall mural  pre-dates the carved pulpit and is also original. Echoes of a world now past.

The significance of this fresco is lost in time

A fresco on the wall that looks like a hood from a pulpit remains a mystery to historians. The meaning and significance of this symbol has been lost.

Threatened by the Nazis during the war years, with their intensive infrastructure plans for a military base and airport, at Trondheim, Værnes Church survived and is still used for church services today. In fact, the church is so popular for baptisms and weddings, it is booked out many months and sometimes, years in advance.

Trondheim Værnes
Værnes Kirke – Just outside Trondheim airport

Make a small detour from Værnes Lufthavn, (Trondheim airport), to Stjørdal, in Norway and you can walk the path of history.

Entrance to the church

Værnes Kirke is an important link to the past and something to ponder about. Linking to Jo’s Monday Walks – a tad earlier

Community

Living History at Røros

Røros World Heritage Site – The Church

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Røros Church in Norway – its reputation preceded it and my only chance to visit was offered to me when I was in Trondheim, Norway. Of course, I leapt at the chance. Walking through a living World Heritage Site, is not something one gets to do every day. Built during Norway’s golden age of copper mining, the church in Røros dates back to 1780 and is nestled amongst classical Norwegian village architecture.

Walking around the town’s old Wooden houses

Initially the church was closed and locked when I arrived, but my intrepid Norwegian friend was not to be deterred and energetically sought out a nearby caretaker who lived in one of the neighbouring wooden homes, who was then kind enough to open the church and give the “Australian,’ a short tour.

This was greatly appreciated.

The guide told us the church has been extensively renovated and restored in recent years, as it frequently plays host to popular concert series and services, often attended by the Norwegian Royals.  Isn’t it stunning?

Roros Norway
Some photos from my walk around the old mine site

Røros is a town high up in Eastern Norway, not far from the Swedish border. Dotted with historic wooden houses and the large copper mine turned museum, the copper mine flourished from 1644 right up until 1977.

bucket mine Norway

The mine is now a museum and the town’s Instagram-worthy architecture has been reincarnated as home to a range of craft artisans, gourmet food purveyors selling their local products, such as cheese and flatbread, in Instagram- worthy shops, as well as boutique objects popular with tourists. The walk along the main street is a delight.

The working life of the town’s citizens in the past was never easy, being as it was, a mining frontier town set high in the mountains on the border of Sweden. Conditions in the mines were neither comfortable nor healthy, it seems and the citizens a resilient lot, coping with difficult work and the threat of marauding Swedes over the border. You can re-live a little more of their history and life in the extensive displays at the museum, located at the mine’s site.

[Note: Signs were in English.]

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Walking inside the copper mine

Contrastingly, modern day Røros is peaceful quiet and colourful. The old wooden houses are beautifully maintained and the town continues to be a World Heritage Site in which people actually work and live out their daily lives.

Every February, the town hosts an annual Winter festival. I imagine there would be quite a different colour on the ground this time of year than when I completed my walk in early Summer.

Roros

Røros is also a place that tries to re-invented itself from its mining past by being sustainable and enjoyable for visitors. They try to preserve local nature, culture and environment, and tourists love it. I wrote more on a prior post about the history of Røros and its Mining Museum.

Something other regional towns might ponder about.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walks

Community

Christmas – Around the World

Merry Christmas from Something to Ponder About –

Here are a few snippets of Christmas past spent in various parts of the World. The spirit remains strong and the family connections, despite whatever corner of our globe we live in. May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!

Glædelig jul – Christmas in Denmark

Denmark

God jul – Christmas in Norway

A Norwegian Christmas

Norwegian National dress is worn at Christmas

European Christmas

Frohe Weihnachten! An Austrian, German and Swiss Christmas

Innsbruck christmas
Christmas in Austria
Christmas markets Europe
German Christmas Markets
Lucerne christmas
In Switzerland playing traditional horns
Innsbruck
‘Statues’ in Innsbruck at Christmas

Japanese Christmas

Merri Kurisumasu

Australian Christmas

And in Australia, we celebrate too even though it is hot and humid…. but we try to stay cool!

Christmas in our backyard pool!

Merry Christmas

from Amanda at Something to Ponder About

Merry Christmas is different around the world, and yet the same!!
Community

Monday Mystery Photo – Last time Norway

Every second Monday, I post a photo of a ‘mystery’ location, and sometimes a mystery object. 

I invite you to leave a comment if you think you know the location, or what the mystery object might be.

 

This Week’s Monday Mystery Photo

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Can you guess the location?

If you guess correctly, I will link back to your blog in a post the following Monday, when the answer is revealed.

Comments will be released later in the week, (Thursday Australian E.S.T.), so as not to spoil the fun for latecomers to this post.

The Mystery photo this week comes from Amy P from the Blog Tesserolo.  Many thanks to Amy for the use of her photo.

If you also have a travel photo you would like featured on Monday Mystery, please leave a comment or contact me on my email which you will find on the Contact page.

You can also find my email by hovering over my Gravatar and viewing my Profile information.

Last Time on Monday Mystery

Ted from recipereminiscing.wordpress.com has been a very welcome regular commenter on Monday Mystery, but his gorgeous photo comprised the very last MMP for 2017.

It was of course, the very famous Vigeland Sculpture park in Oslo, Norway.

  Thanks Ted for the photo!

This photo was taken on New Year’s Eve some years back, and strangely enough, both Ted and Myself were at the park on that very night!

Although we did not know of each other then!!! The snow fell right on midnight following the annual Fireworks display lighting up the sky.

A wonderful moment for a traveler in Norway!

Congratulations to Drake for correctly guessing the location.

Who will guess the location this time?

Something I do Ponder About

– Amanda

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Community

WPC – Scale

 

The insignificance of man in the SCALE of things….

 

 

and our insignificance against animal and nature

 

The earth is so vast, yet sometimes feels so small.

It depends on the measurements on our scale.

 

Something to Ponder About

 

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Hallingdal Rosemaling
Community

Traditional Art – DIY Hallingdal Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling is the style of traditional painting very popular in parts of America, where it is a favoured style of interior decorating, especially amongst those folk with Scandinavian heritage.

Each region, or ‘fylke’, in Norway, developed its own individual interpretation of traditional Rosemaling style and design, which initially appeared around the 18th century.

Hallingdal style on a cupboard in Geilo

History of Rosemaling

As early as the 17th century, itinerant painters brought new ideas and artistic trends from the cities of Europe into the mountains and Valleys of rural Norway, painting Renaissance and Baroque motifs on the walls of the wooden Norwegian Stave churches.

The relative geographic isolation in the Hallingdal, Telemark and Vest Agder provinces led to further development and evolution of this peasant folk art form into a highly distinctive and unique art.

Reaching its zenith in Norway during the 18th century, Rosemaling was then revived by the Norwegian peoples during a fiercely Nationalistic decorating movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the country’s political separation from Sweden.

A similar resurgence in Norwegian traditional painting began amongst Norwegian immigrants, living in the American Midwest, in the mid to late 20th century, and this trend continues to flourish there today.

Read more here

Hallingdal style of Rosemaling

The Halling Valley, itself, is situated in an area of southern central Norway, covering towns such as Gol, Ål and Hol and this is where one finds many examples of Hallingdal Rosemaling, appreciated and loved, even today.

Elements of Halling style can be found in the Embroidery on the Norwegian women’s national costume, (called the Bunad), in Norwegian wood carving, on hanging cupboards, and on wooden objects around the Norwegian home.

Features of this Style:

  • Hallingdal Rosemaling colours: rich, varied, exuberant and strong
  • Background colours: red/orange-red, in later years, blue and green
  • Black appeared as a background colour following influences from Telemark
  • Flowers colours: – Blue, White, or Gold on Red grounds; Red and gold on blue/ green backgrounds
  • Early Hallingdal Rosemaling had more floral elements; scrolls were minor. Over time, scrolls became a frame around which the flowers were placed, in order to achieve a sense of balance, either side of the design’s vertical axis. Scrolls still maintained a simplistic form, with little or no shading, and were heavier than the lyrical scrolls seen in the Telemark area
  • Motifs: symmetrical in round/rectangular design shapes, often depicted in mirror image split along the vertical axis
  • Round floral patterns could also be segmented into 4, 6 or 8 divisions, typically with blossoms of four or more petals
  • Leaves: large, often surrounding a central flower,  or mirror image split vertically
  • Design elements are sometimes filled in with fine, cross – hatched lines.
  • Flower shapes of Hallingdal are classified into 3 groups: circles, triangles or half circles.

Claudine Schatz

Circle Flowers

  • A circular centre is painted first and then concentric bands of colour added
  • Petals are added around the central circle in an even number, four or more, with petal length limited by the sectional diameter of the circle, and defined with liner work.
  • Ball flowers are circular flowers painted as a series of round balls surrounding a centre circle.

Triangular Flowers

  • Simple flowers with three petals, similar to a tulip; usually painted in strokes from the outside tip down to a base at the centre.
  • Blooms with more than three petals can have an oval centre, similar to a daisy.  Are  also combined into more elaborate and complex floral designs.
  • Triangular flower petal strokes can double as leaf forms.

Half circle Flowers

  • Usually are seen as larger elements within the Hallingdal design.
  • Comprise a semi-circular band of colour around a base.
  • Adorned with over strokes and details that illuminate the flower in a new way.
  • Half circles can also become petals of a flower form.

Leaves

Two types are seen in Hallingdal Designs

  • Stroke – work leaves, similar to the triangle flower petals
  • Shaded leaves, which are large and heavy and used in conjunction with large round central flowers. They do have some liner work stems.

Scrolls

  • Scrolls may represent leaves, but take the form of C and S shapes.
  • They are not shaded or blended in Hallingdal designs.
  • Used as a frame around flowers or as a cartouche border in a band that circles a round floral motif.
  • Painted in one colour; the light source is indicated by over strokes of white/ lighter colour on the top side of the scroll.
  • Scrolls are quite tight. They are not airy and lyrical, as in pieces seen in Telemark regions

Hallingdal Rosemaling even had some features borrowed from Oriental art forms. It was although typical in many ways, also malleable to outside influences. These characteristics overlap and interlace with other Rosemaling styles, and as such, should not be used as limits or boundaries, in one’s own Rosemaling journey, but merely to establish guidelines when one is starting to study this beautiful art form.

Free Hallingdal Rosemaling Designs

Why not get a feel for Hallingdal Rosemaling by painting or colouring in this design:

Free project

Something to Ponder About

[Parts of the description of features of Hallingdal style was taken from Rosemaling in the Round by Pat Virch, 1976] 
skanevik
Community

Travel Theme – Behind

When I first read the post on Travel theme – Behind, I thought that I’d be hard pressed to find many photos to fit the theme. But then I realized rear facing photos can add another dimension to photography. Here is my list of tips on photography from behind.

My Ten Tips for Photography from Behind

  1. A shot taken from behind can set the tone and be made far more interesting. Some pensive brooding by my daughter, on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.

Great ocean RoadWhat was she thinking? She hates road trips, so perhaps it was that, or maybe she was a little bored with the scenery? Surely not! Look at it!

 

2. Sometimes you can get an unexpected shot from behind!

[Take note, this one is for you, Peggy!!]

Rebel computer

3. Sometimes the best angle is found from behind! 

A Street entertainer in Brisbane, Australia.

street performer

4. The mood of a photo can be changed with a posterior shot!

Without the teen standing there, it might have been just another seascape. Instead, it became dramatic and I was concerned for the boy’s safety at at Ballina, Northern NSW.

cliff boy

 

5. A shot focusing behind can draw attention to where you want viewers to look.

Looking down the Floibanen, Bergen, Norway

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and direct the eye…

Copenhagen Town hall tower, Denmark

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6. Subjects don’t always need to be looking directly at the camera lens.

Sheep in Golfjellet, Norway

sheep in golfjellet

 

 

7. Sometimes the subject begs to be photographed from behind!

A garden ornament in Whitby, New Zealand

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8. The rear shot can be humorous, enhanced by nature, or man!

No, it wasn’t me who did this!  Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo

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9. The background behind can emphasize the message you are trying to convey

Art Exhibition by Ron Mueck

 Ron Mueck Exhibition

10. There is also the metaphorical meaning to one’s theme.

Art Exhibition by Ron Mueck

Ron Mueck Exhibition of Sculpture Art

Pondering about something behind one’s back?

 Something to Ponder About

 

Community

Monday Mystery Photo Trondheim Grenadiers, Norway

Previous Mystery Photo

The photo here under, of me, standing beside a soldier from a historical re-enactment group. The challenge was to find the location for this military group, based on his costume.

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This re-enactment group is actually based in Trondheim, Norway. In those days, the King of Norway was actually Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark, so this soldier wears the yellow faced uniform of the Trondheim Regiment, of Northern Grenadiers, in the Danish Norwegian Army fighting the Swedes in 1809 – 1814. Read more about the re-enactment groups here.

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Norwegian soldiers had been fighting the Swedes for many years. As many as 3000 Swedish soldiers died out in the mountains on the border of Sweden and Norway near Røros, during a bleak winter as they were retreating back home, defeated.

Here the group are parading in the Constitution Day parade in Trondheim with their drummers. They look rather grand, I think.

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Their hats are rather unusual, and remind me a little of a feather duster on a beaver’s back!! And there is my friend from the Monday Mystery photograph – in the middle of the photo!

trondheim soldater

Monday Mystery

Something to Ponder About

maroochydore
Community

Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdoms

Proverbs and sayings provide us with wise words, hitherto uttered by generally anonymous folk. Said ever so succinctly, and eloquently, that a thousand meanings can be revealed in a few succinct words.

maroochydore

 

Oftentimes, these wise words are general rules for life itself, and come from all corners of the world.  Best savoured a little at a time, these sayings are passed down from generation to generation, almost as if our ancestors are speaking to us themselves.

Each Thursday, I post a saying, or proverb and a quote that I find thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

This week’s proverbial offerings is a departure from the current series of African proverbs, revisiting Norway and the proverb from there, I belive, pertains to journeys and destinations, perhaps. What do you think?

He who follows the river comes at last to the sea

– Norwegian proverb

 

“If only we could pull out our brains and use only our eyes.”

Pablo Picasso

 

 

The appreciation of art is sometimes a little obscure, particularly for those people who are logical  and driven. Was Picasso referring to art appreciation or a wider interpretation of the world?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Join in the discussion. Every comment is welcome.

Proverbial Thursdays – Something esoteric to Ponder About

Rosemaling Bjorn Pettersen
Painting

A Timeless Norwegian Art

History of Norwegian Rosemaling

Rosemaling is a little known traditional art form unique to Norway and is characterized by stylized flowers and ‘c’ and ‘s’ shaped scrolls, inspired by the Renaissance and Acanthus motifs. It is a regional folk art that is timeless and dynamic.

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Traditional Telemark Rosemaling

How did Rosemaling evolve?

From rudimentary beginnings in the woodcarving decorations and religious art of the Middle Ages, Rosemaling first appeared in Norway during the Renaissance and Baroque periods of 1550 –1700.  Early examples, such as stylized plant motifs and acanthus scrolls, can still be seen in the traditional Norwegian churches dating from that era. In addition, regular trading of goods, with other countries in the Hanseatic League, provided the opportunity for East Asian influences to reach the shores of Norway and this provided further inspiration and influence for development of Norwegian folk art.

Bykle
Bykle church
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Wood Carving in Lesja

International trends in religious and modern art were relatively slow to reach the rural areas of Norway, and it was only as church furniture and fittings, (manufactured by the fashion-conscious urban craftsmen), were gradually installed in the country parishes, that new designs and ideas were introduced to the country folk.  Well-to-do farmers and Government officials and the fashion conscious, urban Norwegian elite were more heavily influenced by international trends in decorating and thus Rosemaling was confined mainly to the households and churches in the distant, rural Valleys of Norway.

1766 Chest from Simenrud Fåberg
Bridal Trunk with Acanthus leaf Stylization

In this relative isolation, rural Norwegian folk artists adapted the Renaissance inspired religious motifs and changed it to suit their own purposes. Over time, this folk art developed into an original style that evolved into a new art-form, with individual characteristics pertinent to each Valley. Between 1700 -1850, lavishly painted objects were often seen as status symbols. Therefore, itinerant or local folk artists were in high demand painting Rosemaling designs on cupboards, dressers, bridal trunks, saddles, harness parts, sleighs, and even clocks

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Acanthus leaf form in Lom church

The symmetrical designs of acanthus vine elements, so popular in the Renaissance era, were heavily influenced by Rococco trends from Europe, and later adapted by folk artists, finally emerging, in the Telemark region of Norway, as the distinctive ‘C’ curves and ‘S’ scroll forms, of Rosemaling, on an asymmetrical central root.

This is the very popular style that we now identify as Telemark Rosemaling.

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Contemporary Telemark Rosemaling by Bjørn Pettersen

As the twentieth century approached, Rosemaling declined in popularity and it was only the political situation in Norway that saved it from complete obscurity.  Once Norway gained its independence, as a nation, there was, amongst the Norwegian public, a groundswell of interest in all things Norwegian, particularly crafts and painting. The revival continued throughout most of the 20th century and ensured Rosemaling had a promising future, both in Norway and in immigrant communities around the world, especially in the United States.

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Stave Church in Lom

An opportunity to see the rich heritage of Norway should not be missed. By studying the Rosemaling in the Stave churches, museums and contemporary exhibitions in Norway, a folk artist can, like those painters in centuries past, become inspired to create individual masterpieces and hopefully, their own original style.

History and Art is Something Beautiful to Ponder About