Thursday, 29 March 2012

Årdal gamle kirke - Årdal old church, Norway

We were having a day out, whilst staying with our eldest son and family, when we came across this little church in the small community of Old Årdal, Rogaland, Norway.
It had clearly been built in three stages, the first two stages using very large slates on the roof and the third using tiles.
Nothing prepared us for what we would find on entering the church, but it soon became clear that we were in for something rather special,
and unexpected.
The wooden walls were completely covered in rather wonderful naive paintings.
St. Peter and St Andrew
Old Årdal Kyrkje turned out to be one of the best examples of a Renaissance church on the West coast of Norway. It dates from the 17th century and the wall decoration is thought to be by Hans Sager, a church painter who worked in Rogaland.

St. Michael and at the bottom,
Salvator - Jesus saviour of men
Hope and Fidelity
Charity
Temperance - doesn't look too temperate to me!
Justice
Patience 
Fortitude - a rather foppish character - I love the way his feet embrace the pedestal and he nonchantly carries his pillar.
angel on the ceiling
A mythical beast framing the side of the altar
Altar painting thought to be the work of Godtfred Hendtzschel a famous Norwegian church painter. He was the most well known church artist in Rogaland from 1625 -1650.
This sun shines down on the righteous
Pews
This was the only stained glass window in the church. It is very small, but I like the sailor with his tankard of ale.
 via

40 comments:

  1. Wow, what an unusual and amazing find, both inside and out! Your last photo is gorgeous. Looks like it's well kept.

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    1. Glad you enjoying seeing the little Norwegian church. I was delighted when we came across it.

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  2. I am absolutely impressed by these paintings and the atmosphere of the church! The red color is so appealing and you are such a dear to show these photographs! Thank you! Christa

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    1. Dear Christa - Delighted that you enjoyed this little church so much. I must admit that I was really charmed by it when we came across it on our mountain trek.

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  3. Awesome find! The outside doesn't quite seem to match in the inside, but both are wonderful in their own ways. I adore the paintings inside! Wonderful photos.

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    1. Dear Marie - The red outside is very typical and traditional in Norway. The naive paintings inside are an absolute delight, I just loved coming unexpectedly across this little church.

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  4. Hi, rosemary! I wondered what it was like on the other side of the gateway of this little charming red church. Wow, and wow, with pleasant unexpected surprises, you made me sigh in amazement.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - How lovely that you were charmed by this little Norwegian church too. When we first saw the interior we were very surprised to see the delightful naive paintings on the walls.

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  5. Such a unique church interior.. who would think it was like that from the outside. The red wooden building is charming Norwegian architecture..
    Very interesting
    Thank you Rosemary
    Enjoy your visit in Norway and time with your Son and Family
    val

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    1. Dear Val - the Scandinavians do have a distinct flair when using colour - especially for the exterior and interior of their homes, and also their civic buildings.
      It would be very nice to be in Norway with my son's family, but I am not. These photos are some that I took on a previous visit, and I did, in fact, do this post some time ago. I have just had it lurking in the back of my blog!

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    2. Its a lovely post.
      You did not mention the area in which your son lives. I have wonderful sailing friends in Kristiansand.. a very well known family. The Hoff's... you can find them on the internet. The Norwegians are such friendly people. I love their folklore.

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    3. Dear Val - my son and his family live in the Stavanger area. There is actually quite an international community there. We enjoy visiting them in Norway, and wonder where they may go next? Previously they were in Paris, and prior to that Scotland. All of them lovely places for us to have been able to visit.

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  6. What a treasure! I'm a bit obsessed by Norwegian painted wood antiques (boxes, chairs etc.) so this post is a real treat! I also like to use those simple Scandinavian colours at home - they remind me of American Shaker colours.

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    1. Dear Nilly - this is really ringing bells with me today. I have just been discussing with H an old American rocking chair we have. Currently it is painted with an American Shaker off beat blue colour, but I have decided to paint in another colour. I have picked the shade of this church for it. I do not know whether or not you know Annie Sloan chalk paints, she is based in Oxford. She does a colour called Scandinavian pink, which I shall use.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed the post.

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  7. The vista of the first photo makes me want to visit Norway — I did not realize there is so much climbing to be done there! And what strikes me about the little red church and its interiors is how time has seemed to stand still. It is all so amazingly intact. My favorite detail is those floral walls, though I imagine my mind would wander during sermons!

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    1. Dear Mark - virtually the whole of Norway is mountainous, interspersed with deep fjiords. With your Swiss ancestry I am sure you would love it.
      The church is in remarkable condition considering that it is made of wood, and about 400 years old. Most of Norway remains unchanged because the population is small, and centred in a few large towns.

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  8. Wow, what an awesome church, both inside and outside.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Wish you a wonderful weekend, Rosemary.
    Hugs Mette

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    1. Dear Mette - thank you for your really lovely comment. I thought it might be possible that you would know this beautiful little church as it is in your homeland. But of course with communities in Norway being separated by mountains and fjiords it is difficult to see everything.
      We were thrilled when we discovered it on one of our outings.
      Wishing you a happy weekend and take care.

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    2. Dear Rosemary,
      I've only been to Årdal a few times and I don't know how I could have missed this beautiful church.
      Since we have to go by boat, it's not often we visit "the other side of the fjord".

      By the way have you visited "Flo & Fjære", the little paradise island outside Stavanger? They even have palmtrees growing there.
      I've never been there, but it's on my list.
      Wish you a wonderful Sunday.
      Mette

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    3. Dear Mette - if you go over again, you must check the church out. Yes, we went over on the ferry from Stavanger, it is a nice day out.
      Is the Flo & Fjaere the place where you have to book a meal on a little island and the garden is included in the visit? I know my son and his wife have been to that place, and they did said they would take us next time we visit.
      I have just been to my other son's house to collect one of my grandchildren who is staying with us for a few days.
      Hope you had a good weekend.

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    4. Dear Rosemary,
      Yes, that's the place.
      Must be wonderful to have your grandchild visiting.
      Hope you had a good weekend too.

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    5. I shall look forward to being taken there sometime. Yes, it is a treat for us to have her to stay.

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  9. oh my goodness what a hidden treasure!! i would love to visit this church. your pictures are great!
    thank you for your thoughts today. i am grateful for your blogging friendship..and i appreciate you!!!
    happy weekend!!

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    1. This little church sits in quite a remote little valley, and you are right, I too think it is a hidden treasure.
      So pleased everything is well with you. Enjoy your weekend too, with all of your family.

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  10. It must have been a great supprise when you entered the church to all the beauty wich was inside. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful details.
    have a lovely weekend
    marijke

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    1. Yes, Marijke - it really did take us by surprise. The naive painting of the saints and their attributions are really quite amusing in their detail.
      Hope your weekend goes well too.

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  11. Hello Rosemary, I came to your blog by chance from lindyluomac, and I immediately entered among your followers. I'm Francesca and I live in a village near Rome, working as a decorator but my passions are the garden and the vegetable garden. Nice to meet you! fr

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    1. Dear Francesca - thank you very much for your visit and for becoming a follower. I am now following you too. How lovely to live near Rome, a city which I love. I look forward to seeing what happens in your garden, and hope you will enjoy seeing the plants in my garden too.

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  12. What a fascinating place, somewhere I would love to visit, so the virtual tour was much appreciated.

    In answer to your question, I have no idea, but think I am already using the upgraded blogger. Is it just my blog you are having problems commenting on? As blogger seem to think there is nothing wrong, if you read this link.
    https://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!msg/blogger/0VZuj92lrxE/7_swRsQVOcIJ.

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    1. Dear LindyLou glad you enjoyed the virtual tour.
      When I wrote that comment on your post, I did not expect it to get through, because I had problems during the day posting on other blogs. Therefore, because the comment got through, there seemed to be no problem with yours. Sorry if I confused the issue.
      The update problem relates to the following - when I go into my Dashboard it now says (Blogger is getting a new look in April) Upgrade Now. I thought some of the problems people were having was probably because Blogger are messing around in the background and the comments problems could have been due to that.
      Does this all sound doubledutch? sorry if I am confusing the issue.

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    2. No you did not confuse the issue and I understand what you mean. IOt does sound like you will have to upgrade to the new blogger interface on your dashboard though. Do not worry like all change you will quickly get used to it.

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    3. Thanks very much for the reassurance. However, I wish they would leave things alone.

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  13. Absolutely stunning and beautiful!

    ♥ Franka

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    1. Dear Franka - I totally agree, and was thrilled when we unexpectedly came across it.

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  14. I was searching for pictures of the Ardal Gamle Kirke just now and came across yours. Thanks for posting them. The church is one of my favorite places to visit in Norway, but for me its personal. All of my maternal grandparents came from Ardal to the US in the mid 1800s, and this was their church for generations before that. They didn't have their names on one of the pews (they were too poor for that), but so many of the key events of their lives would have been tied to that one unique place.
    Its so cool to see it again in your images!

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    1. Dear Amy - I am pleased that you enjoyed the posting on Årdal gamle kirke, it is a very special and beautiful place, and one that we were delighted to discover on our trip. I expect that you know there is a new church in Årdal now, and so this one is not the main church for the community anymore.
      It is a beautiful building in a wonderful spot, and lovely to imagine your ancestors coming from there.
      Thanks for your visit and comment.

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  15. A colleague of mine told me about this posting about the old church in Årdal as she thought it might be of interest to me. I grew up in Årdal, and I was actually a tourist guide in that church some twenty years ago, so I know the church well and it is quite special to me. I very much enjoyed your postings, and I think you have taken very good pictures which illustrates the characteristics of the church very well.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind comment - I do hope I got all of the facts right about this very special little church which we were charmed to find. I should be happy for you to correct me if anything is wrong as I can easily change it.

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