Andreas Lindblom och medeltiden


  • Inga Lena Ångström-Grandien


Andreas Lindblom and the Middle Ages Andreas Lindblom (1889–1977) started his career as an art historian with the Middle Ages as his special field of interest. In 1925 he was appointed professor at the University of Stockholm, a post he left in 1929 to become a successful director of Nordiska museet and Skansen. In 1944–1946 his remarkable Sveriges konsthistoria in three volumes was published. In the article I study Lindblom’s treatment of medieval art, compared with how Henrik Cornell, then professor in the History of Art in Stockholm, discussed the subject in his contemporary Den svenska konstens historia. My comparison shows that the former is more comprehensive, better illustrated and more enjoyable to read than Cornell’s, which, on the other hand, is more objective and correct; Cornell’s datings have fared much better than Lindblom’s. It also includes all art within the boundaries of Sweden, while Lindblom wanted only to include art made in Sweden by Swedish artists, thus excluding many pieces of art, i.e. the Flemish altarpieces and St. George and the Dragon in Stockholm, which Johnny Roosval had proved to be by Bernt Notke. Lindblom was furthermore convinced there was a Swedish style, which Cornell was not, thus lining with a more contemporary view on art. It is important to stress, however, that Lindblom wrote his book during the Second World War, and much as a protest against the way that German but also Swedish art historians, as he saw it, tried to prove that almost every medieval sculpture was made in Germany, thus giving the Germans more legitimacy to claim the whole area as theirs. He wanted to make the Swedes aware of their cultural heritage, give them something to be proud of and to assemble around. In excluding everything that was foreign he came, however, rather close to what the Nazis were doing in Germany, but, as has been pointed out, he never depreciated foreign art or artists. His nationalism was rather humble and matched by a warm-hearted humanism. His enclosing of also “ordinary” people’s dwellings, handicraft etc. makes his book, together with the rich language and the overflowing cultural knowledge, still indispensable to students of Swedish art.