A Problematic Legacy: Negotiating the Medieval Past in Danish Eighteenth-Century Church Interior

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This chapter delves into Danish church interiors of the eighteenth century and explores how they interacted with their heritage from the Middle Ages. Many furnishings were uncontroversial in the eyes of the reformers and were hence left out of reformation debates in the sixteenth century. A resurgent disapproval of the vestiges of Catholicism can be discerned among the authorities of the eighteenth century, who wanted to combat what they perceived as old superstition and the relics of ‘popery’. The chapter points out four strategies for ‘taming’ the medieval heritage: criticizing superstitious practices, exposing superstition, explaining superstition and narrowing the focus, the last of these referring to how the focus came to rest on the key places or spaces within the church, whereas a general and gradual abandonment of decoration in church interiors became apparent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries : Reason and orthodoxy
Editors J. Ljungberg, E. Sidenvall
Number of pages36
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Publication dateSept 2023
ISBN (Electronic)9789198740417
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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