”Albertus Pictor – painter of his time”


The paintings by Albertus Pictor on the walls and in the vaults of about thirty churches around Lake Mälaren in central Sweden, form a unique treasure of Medieval art in northern Europe. Our knowledge of the painter and his oeuvre has drastically changed during the last decade of the 20th century - pictures formerly thought to be made by his presumed teacher Peter have now been confirmed to be the work of the young Albertus.
The purpose of this project has been to extend and deepen the research on the works of the well-known master, through the close co-operation of History of Art and Philology.
On the basis of recent research and using the newest digital photo and computer processing, the project has fully documented and examined all the existing paintings and their accompanying texts, most of them in Latin. The texts have never before been studied by philologists, in spite of their being a most important key to the understanding of the form and function of the paintings.
Other important questions for the project have been for instance the interaction between church and donor in the society of the late Middle Ages, and also the relations between paintings, liturgy and congregation.
The project was aided by grants from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Anniversary Foundation of the National Central Bank of Sweden). Head of the project was Prof. Thomas Hall, Director of the Department of History of Art. Research leaders were em. Prof. Jan Svanberg, History of Art, and em. Prof. Jan Öberg, Latin. Research worker was Ph.D. Christina Sandquist Öberg, Latin, and Candidate of the doctorate was Pia Melin, History of Art. All are members of Stockholm University.
A reference team consisting of specialists of related fields was attached to the project: Ass. Prof. Roger Andersson (Nordic languages, Stockholm), Prof. Göran Dahlbäck (History, Stockholm), em. Prof. Alf Härdelin (Theology, Uppsala), Ass. Prof. Anna Nilsén (History of Art, Uppsala), and Prof. Anders Piltz (Latin, Liturgy, Lund).
A number of articles have already been published by memberso the project as well as the dissertation by Pia Melin ”Fåfängans förgänglighet. Allegorin som livs- och lärospegel hos Albertus Pictor” (Vanishing Vanity: Allegory as Speculum in Paintings by Albertus Pictor), published 2006, with a Summary in English.. The lectures held at an interdisciplinary symposium in October 2005 at Stockholm University have been assembled in the volume ”Den mångsidige målaren. Vidgade perspektiv på Albertus Pictors bild- och textvärld” (The Versatile Painter. Widened Perspectives on the Paintings and Scrolls by Albertus Pictor), published 2007, with Summaries in English or German. The two main publications within the project, a volume consisting of a documentation of the motifs and an edition of the scrolls (by Christina Sandquist Öberg), and a volume containing selected paintings from the 35 churches painted by Albertus Pictor, as well as a biography and some articles (ed. Pia Melin) will be edited some time during the winter of 2008/2009.