Olaus Magnus' Picture of the Corn Harvest in the Nordic Countries.


The picture on the cover of this journal is taken from the Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus of Olaus Magnus, printed in Rome in 1555. The author was the exiled last Catholic Archbishop of Sweden. The picture illustrates Book 13, Chapter 8: On Various Ways of Harvesting. Many years ago the author of this paper noticed that the picture, laterally reversed, is closely similar to one by Hans Holbein the younger in his Icones veteris testamenti, printed in Leiden in 1538. The paper analyses departures made from the prototype in order to give the content a more Scandinavian character. It is shown how Olaus Magnus builds wholly or partly on Holbein's Bible illustrations in other cases too. Finally, some reflections are made on the value the former Archbishop attached to the pictorial material. Not least because of this material, his work became the oldest source of major significance for knowledge of Scandinavian folklife at the beginning of the modern era.

How to Cite

Berg, G., (1983) “Olaus Magnus' Picture of the Corn Harvest in the Nordic Countries.”, Ethnologia Europaea 14(1), 177-180. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1439


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Gösta Berg (Stockholm University)



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