Gerson Digital : Denmark

RKD STUDIES

4.2 The Studiolo - Ceiling and Wainscot

At the north end of the ground-floor Christian IV established his private quarters, comprising a bedroom, a living room called the Winter Room and a small Writing Room or Studiolo , which only can be entered through an invisible door in the Winter Room. It is a small cabinet with paintings laid into the low wainscoting as they were conceived in 1616-1620. Christian IV had his writing chamber lavishly decorated with grotesques and ornamental arabesques. He was familiar with this idiom from his childhood. The large series of 43 Flemish tapestries that his father Frederick II commissioned by Hans Knieper (†1587) [1] in 1581-1585 display in their borders an elaborate use of this particular form of decoration. The upper-tier was probably decorated with gilded leather wall hangings.

1
tapestry workshop of Hans Knieper
Frederick II (1534-1588) with his son Prince Christian (1577-1648) in front of Frederiksborg Castle and Kronborg Castle, 1585
woven (technique), wool, silk 394 x 367 cm
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark

The richly carved, panelled ceiling contains six small paintings. The central decoration shows Angelica and Medoro carving their initials in a tree [2], a subject from Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.1 There is uncertainty about the identity of the painter of this work; it has been attributed to Frantz Klein (1582-1658) and hypothetically to Søren Kiær (active 1609-1630); both painters had just returned from Italy in 1617.2 The composition is based on an engraving by Aegidius Sadeler (c. 1570-1629) [3] after a painting by Carlo Caliari (1570–1596), now in the National Gallery in Prague [4].3

2
Frantz Klein or possibly Søren Kiær after Aegidius Sadeler (II) after Carlo Caliari
Angelica and Medoro carving their names in the tree trunk, 1618-1623
panel, oil paint ? x ? cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle


3
Aegidius Sadeler (II) after Carlo Caliari
Angelica and Medoro
paper, engraving 314 x 422 mm
lower right : Carlo Caliari pin: G. Sadler. sculp:
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-OB-7014

4
Carlo Caliari
Angelica en Medoro, c. 1590
canvas, oil paint 125 x 168,5 cm
upper left : AGIELIC/MEDORO
Prague, Národní Galerie v Praze, inv./cat.nr. Do 4369


A series of paintings in the wainscoting show female busts as well as the Bust of a man [5]. Juliette Roding recently discovered that the latter was designed after a woodcut of Christoffel van Sichem I after a drawing by Hendrick Goltzius dated 1607, which once was thought to represent Count Otto Heinrich of Schwartzenberg [6-7].4 The female busts, some of which have an allegorical meaning (Hope, Faith and Love), seem to be based on prints as well, although no specific example has been identified yet [8-14].

5
Anoniem Denemarken 1616-1623 free after Christoffel van Sichem (I) after Hendrick Goltzius
Bust of a man with a fur cap and coat and a golden necklace, 1616-1623
panel, oil paint 57 x 47 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

6
Christoffel van Sichem (I) after Hendrick Goltzius
Portrait of a man, dated 1607
paper, inkt 301 x 197 mm
lower left : Ao HG i607
Sydney (Australia), Art Gallery of New South Wales, inv./cat.nr. 386.1977

7
Hendrick Goltzius
Portrait of a man, dated 1607
paper, pen in brown ink, indented 295 x 202 mm
lower right : Ao HG 1607 (HG ineen)
Los Angeles/Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum, inv./cat.nr. 94.GA.49


8
possibly Frantz Klein
Female bust with flaming hart (Charity), 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 33 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

9
possibly Frantz Klein
Female bust with a cross, an allegory of Faith, 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 34 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle


10
Anoniem 1616-1620 of 1618-1623
Female bust with collar and veil, an allegory (?), 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 40 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

11
Anoniem 1616-1620 of 1618-1623 possibly Frantz Klein
Female bust with décolleté, pearl necklace and earrings, an allegory (?), 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 40 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle


12
Anoniem 1616-1620 of 1618-1623
Female bust with upright lace collar, an allegory (?), 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 37 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

13
Anoniem 1616-1620 of 1618-1623 possibly Frantz Klein
Female bust with a tulip in her cleavage and flowers in her hair (Flora?), 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 36 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle


14
possibly Frantz Klein
Bust of a female with an anchor, an allegory of Hope, 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 60 x 33 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

15
possibly Frantz Klein
Portrait of a dog with a view of a city in the background, 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 58 x 142 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle


Furthermore we encounter painted dogs [15-16] and a human face constructed out of kitchen utensils, bearing the inscription ‘CVCINA’ and executed after a print after Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) [17-18].5 The famous Italian painter worked in Vienna as a court painter to the emperors Maximilian II as well as to Rudolph II in Prague, where he painted a series of heads constructed out of plants, fruits, flowers and naturalia. Thanks to the frequent artistic contacts between these central European cities and Copenhagen, Christian IV was able to decorate his Studiolo in a similar fashion.6

Just as in the case of the paintings in the ceiling, we do not know for sure who was or were the artist(s) who made the paintings in the wainscot and the window niches of this room, although they traditionally have been attributed to Frantz Klein.

16
possibly Frantz Klein
A greyhound lying in the courtyard of a farm, with a henhouse in the background, 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 58 x 141 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle


17
free after Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Human face build of kitchen utensils, the cook, 1616-1620 or 1618-1623
panel, oil paint 58 x 22 cm
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle

18
Anoniem Italië 1569-1618 published by Angelo Salvadori after Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Human face build of kitchen utensils, the cook, 1569-1618
paper, copper engraving 232 x 184 mm
Copenhagen, Designmuseum Danmark, inv./cat.nr. I1/108 (KKS)


Notes

1 Littejohn 1992. Angelica was an Asian princess at the court of Charlemagne, who fell in love with the Saracen knight Medoro, and eloped with him to China. While in the original work, Orlando was the main character, many adaptations focused purely or mainly on the love between Angelica and Medoro, with the favorite scenes in paintings being Angelica nursing Medoro, and the lovers carving their names into a tree, a scene which was the theme of numerous paintings between 1577 and 1825.

2 Beckett 1936, p. 12 and Stein 1987, pp. 73-81; Hein 2006, p. 30.

3 I thank Ursula de Goede (RKD) for the information on the Caliari painting.

4 I thank Juliette Roding for this communication.

5 Ferino-Pagden et.al 2007-2008, pp. 183-184, no. IV.36.

6 Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen possesses another version of the 'kitchen utensil' head made by Angelo Salvatori. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Princeton University, suggested in an oral communication to the author that he believed it to be after a now disappeared painted original by Archimboldo.

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