Denmark - An amazing photo exhibition at Kronborg Castle


A couple of weeks ago I returned from a visit to Helsingør in Denmark together with a sister. We were there to visit Kronborg Castle and the amazing photo exhibition of the kings and queens of Denmark. The exhibition is a collaboration between Jim Lyngvild, Kronborg Castle and the National Museum. Krongborg Castle was chosen as the venue for the exhibition that recreates the line of Danish Kings and Queens. Jim Lyngvild made this possible. He has made the kings and queens come alive through this very special photo exhibition. We don't know what many of them looked like when they were alive, because of the lack of paintings. Lyngvild has an interpretation of his own, though he has based it on what he has managed to find out. He has reconstructed costumes and jewelry, dressed up models he then photographed. When looking at his photographed, I was very impressed. Not details are left to chance.

Some background information about Kronborg and the royal line: Between the 1420s and 1857 Kronborg Castle has played an important role in the history of Northern Europe. This Renaissance castle has towered over the Sound between Sweden and Denmark for centuries after it was completed in 1585. The castle became world famous because of William Shakespeare's well known drama, Hamlet - Prince of Denmark. The play was written in the late 1800s and Kronborg was chosen as the home of Hamlet and the scene where the drama took place.

King Frederik 2nd (1534 – 1588) wanted to make sure he would become the most powerful king in Scandinavia, besides being known througout Europe for throwing grand parties at Kronborg Castle. He also made sure that the walls in the great hall were covered with 43 large tapestries. The motifs of these were the Danish kings from King Dan up until himself. But with Lyngvild's photo exhibition, the royal line has been recreated in its entirety from the Viking king, Gorm the Old (?-958) to Queen Margrethe 2nd. (1940 -?) who is still the Queen of Denmark.

«Facts and imagination».

The museum curator, Poul Grinder-Hansen meets designer and photographer Jim Lyngvild in a friendly dispute between facts ( Grinder-Hansen) and the imagination (Lyngvild). The title of the exhibition is «Fakta & fantasi» which means «facts and imagination». I down loaded the app, so that I could listen to this dispute while looking at the photos.

Vikings & the Midle Ages

The tour took us from room to room. We startet at the beginning with Harald Bluetooth who was the son of the first Viking king Gorm the Old. During his rule Christianity was introduced and with him the royal lineage started. I have taken the photos of Lyngvilds photographs with mobile phone. Therefore, the quality is not too good. The rooms were dark with spot lights to highlight the photographs, making it a difficult to take good shots.

Frederik 2nd with his son Christian

This exhibition is inspired by the tapestries that were made on the initiative by King Frederik 2nd. The photo shows the king together with his little son Christian, who later became King Christian the 4th .

Queen Dorethea

I only took a picture of the Danish text, but in short, Lyngvild says that this lady was married to King Christoffer III of Bavaria. For a short time she was the head of the nation until she remarried. Lyngvild says that in one of the only pictures we have of her, she has a white cloth for her mouth, because she should be silent. He wanted her to speak and appear proud and strong.

Erik of Pomerania and Philippa - The chess dual

Jim Lyngvild:
« Erik of Pomerania was a strawberry blonde, goodlooking and a bit of a player. On the other hand, we do not know what his wife Philippa looked like. She was, however, a polical genius and proved somewhat smarter than her husband.

It was important for me to show that Philippa outshone her husband in the brains department. The game of chess symbolises their strategic abilities, and the queen has just won. By Philippa's side Erik's foster mother, Margrete 1 , is deep in her own thoughts.

I also knew that I wanted the scene to take place in snowy weather, to suggest that Margrete and Erik ruled over the coldest part of the Nordic region. That is why there is a sleigh and a horse. The Arabian horse doesn't fit the time, but it's not that important. It just looks really good».

Poul Grinder-Hansen:
«At the beginning of the 15th century Margrete 1 ruled over all the Nordic countries on behalf of ther adopted son King Erik of Pomerania. She was also behind Erik's marriage to the 12-year-old English princess Philippa.» (continues, but was not on my photo)

Frederik 2nd . - The Tiger hunt

Again, I only have a photo of the Danish text. Lyngvild tells that it may seem strange to see Frederik 2nd with a tiger, but also points out that in records of the Kronborg tapestries there has been one that has had the title " The tiger hunt". It is also not common to see the king without armor, but here Lyngvild has chosen to think logical - that kind of clothing is not suitable for hunting. I agree, but what about hunting naked? Lyngvild is quite daring in his interpretation, but I love it!

The Royal lineage.

This is huge and gives a good idea of this long line of royalties in one of oldest monarchies in the world. But to me it actually looks like a puzzle! Impressive.

Margrethe 2nd (1940-) & Henrik, Prince consort of Denmark (1934-2018)

In the largest room the walls are covered with photos of the kings and queens from Christian 1st (1426-1481) until today's Queen Margrethe 2nd. I took photos of each couple. These are just a few of them. Some of the costumes are also on display here.

After leaving the last room with photos on my phone of each and everyone of the kings and queens, the way out was through the gift shop. Our eyes immediately fell on this book which contains all the pictures we had just seen. If we had known that, we hadn't needed to take pictures of absolutely all of Lyngvild's photographs! The book contains all. I still bought the book. Now I can look at these beautiful photographs any time. An absolutely impressive exhibition that made me even more curious about the Danish kings and queens. We both decided we have to visit the place where it all started – Jelling – King Gorm the Old is burried here.

Sources: Information boards at the exibition and the information told by Lyngvild and Grinder-Hansen in the videos the book by Jim Lyngvild.

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All the photoes are mine, Ulla Jensen (flickr, Instagram and facebook)

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