Sektion 2: Kirchenkunst und religiöser Wandel rund um die Nordsee
Laura Katrine Skinnebach, Aarhus

Reuse and Appropriation of Medieval Altarpieces in Post-Reformation Denmark

The Lutheran reformation in Denmark resulted in a through re-evaluation of religious practice and, thus, including the devotional use of images. Danish visitation reports from the early Lutheran period testify to a general reuse of images, combined with disposal of several potential cult-images. During his first visitation, Peder Palladius, the first superintendent of Zealand, instructed the churchwardens in his diocese that “those images that people visited and hung dolls of wax and crutches upon, should simply be removed and burned”.
The present paper will, however, focus on a group of altarpieces that were dismantled, rearranged and inserted into new frameworks after the reformation. By applying seemingly gentle strategies of appropriation, such as light expurgation of specific visual elements and relocation and reframing of others, as well as (often textual) neutralization of devotional and mediating potentials, these altarpieces were gradually Lutheranized. The application of these subtle forms of iconoclasm seem, the paper will argue, to have served as visual communication of a specific Lutheran practice and strategy of religious transition as a balance between and negotiation of continuity and change. As the paper will illustrate, visual elements that represent a certain continuity were visually conditioned, redefined and framed by Lutheran ideals, which may be understood as a subtle form of iconoclasm. ​Taking as point of departure the analyses of specific examples of post-Reformation visual and material appropriation, the present paper investigates the specific Danish Lutheran negotiation of devotion, of visual culture, and, in particular, the specific Danish Lutheran ideal of religious re-formation.
Kurzbiografie Laura Katrine Skinnebach
2003Cand. mag. in History and Communication Studies, University of Roskilde
2004–2005Scientific Assistant at the „Centre for the Study of the Cultural Heritage of Medieval Rituals“, Faculty of Theology, Copenhagen
2005–2013PhD in Art History, University of Bergen, Norway Scientific Assistant, Curator, Bergen Museum Teacher training at University College of Southern Denmark
2014–2018Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Art History, Culture & Aesthetics and Museology at the Institute for Communication and Culture (one year as Assistant Professor)
2018Scientific Assistant, Institute for Communication and Culture, University of Aarhus
Forschungs- bzw. Arbeitsschwerpunkte Medieval and early modern devotional culture; visual theory and communication; religious and visual practice; animation in a historical context; sensory aspects of religious culture
Publikationsauswahl
  • Visual Forandringspraksis. Appropriering af billeder efter reformationen, in: Kari G. Hempel et al. (Hgg.), Efter Reformationen. Rapporter til det 29. Nordiske Historikermøde III, Aalborg 2017, S. 4.
  • Family Matters. The Formation of the Early Lutheran Devotional Household, in: Bo Kristian Holm und Nina Javette Knudsen (Hgg.), Lutheran Theology and the shaping of society: The Danish Monarchy as Example (Academic Studies 33), Göttingen 2018.
  • (Hg. mit Salvador Ryan und Samantha Leanne Smith) Material Cultures of Devotion in the Age of the Reformations, erscheint 2018; darin: Visual Appropriation – The continuity of Medieval visual culture after the reformation in Denmark.
  • Devotion in transition – Appropriation of Danish and British medieval prayer books, in: J. Kelly et al. (Hgg.), Reformations in Denmark-Norway and Britain and Ireland c. 1517–c. 1650: Comparative Perspectives, erscheint 2018.
  • Haptic prayer – devotional books and practices of perception, in: Touching Christ – Devotional practices, touching, and visionary experience in the Late Middle Ages, erscheint 2018.