A couple of months ago I shared memories and photos of a trip to Haugesund to attend the wedding of friends. The wedding was held in the historic St. Olav’s Church of Avaldsnes. From Wikipedia:
This church has been a landmark for seafarers passing through the strait of Karmsund for 750 years. King Håkon IV Håkonsson gave permission to build a church around the year 1250. It was not completed until nearly 1320, and was then the fourth largest in the country. The church was dedicated to St. Olav … Remaining walls were visible as late as 1840, but are now completely gone.
The history of the church depicts a fine cross-section of Norway’s history. Being one of the largest churches along the coast of Norway, it is certain to have been visited by many travelers on their pilgrimage to St. Olav’s shrine in Trondheim.
(If you’re interested in deep history, this link goes into detail about the archaeology and excavation near the church. Several ships’ burial mounds and other discoveries, as well as a replica of Viking Age farm, are part of the Nordevegan History Centre.)
In exploring Norwegian painters and places I’ve photographed, I came across a painting of the church by Johan Christian Dahl. A little about this important Norwegian painter:
Johan Christian Claussen Dahl (February 24, 1788 – October 14, 1857), often known as J. C. Dahl or I. C. Dahl, was a Norwegian artist who is considered the first great romantic painter in Norway, the founder of the “golden age” of Norwegian painting, and one of the great European artists of all time. He is often described as “the father of Norwegian landscape painting” and is regarded as the first Norwegian Painter ever to reach a level of artistic accomplishment comparable to that attained by the greatest European artists of his day. He was also the first acquire genuine fame and cultural renown abroad. As one critic has put it, “J.C. Dahl occupies a central position in Norwegian artistic life of the first half of the 19th century.
Although Dahl spent much of his life outside of Norway, his love for his country is clear in the motifs he chose for his paintings and in his extraordinary efforts on behalf of Norwegian culture generally. Indeed, if one sets aside his own monumental artistic creations, his other activities on behalf of art, history, and culture would still have guaranteed him a place at the very heart of the artistic and cultural history of Norway. He was, for example, a key figure in the founding of the Norwegian National Gallery and of several other major art institutions in Norway, as well as in the preservation of Norwegian stave churches and the restoration of the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and Håkonshallen in Bergen.
My photographic perspective of the church isn’t the same as Dahl’s, especially as many of the walls in his 1820 painting are no longer there. But you can capture the essence of this historic medieval church, can’t you?
(Here is where St. Olav’s Church of Avaldsnes is located on the map.)