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The King and His Temple

Images of Absolute Power in Danish Baroque Religious Architecture
Le roi et son temple : images du pouvoir absolu dans l’architecture religieuse baroque au Danemark
Birgitte Bøggild Johannsen

Résumés

S’inspirant des recherches majeures de Gérard Sabatier sur les stratégies de représentation et les codes encomiastiques manifestés dans les arts visuels, l’architecture, les cérémonies et la littérature sous la monarchie française à l’époque moderne et qui trouvaient leur expression la plus élaborée au sein du domaine de Versailles, notre étude s’intéressera, à travers l´architecture religieuse, à la sémantique de l’image royale, représentant, doublant ou remplaçant la présence charismatique du prince. Prenant comme point de départ l’église de Frédéric à Copenhague, fondée par Frédéric V en 1749 durant la célébration du tricentenaire de la dynastie des Oldenbourg, l’architecture et l’iconographie sont envisagées comme des éléments signifiants d’une communication symbolique. L’ambition grandiose de ce coûteux projet aux dimensions extraordinaires, incarnant à la fois la Felicitas Temporum du règne de Frédéric V et le succès de l’absolutisme danois, se révèlera en définitive néfaste pour le projet royal. Le chantier fut arrêté en 1770 et l’église resta inachevée pendant 150 ans. En 1894, l’église fut finalement achevée grâce à l’intervention du financier C. F. Tietgen, 45 ans après l’introduction de la constitution qui remplaça l’absolutisme par une monarchie constitutionnelle. La conception initiale de l’église de Frédéric fut alors redéfinie : elle fut transformée en un monument de la Réforme luthérienne, comme en témoignent les inscriptions et le programme iconographique.

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  • 1 “Kongen selv - det store Tempel / har et mindre her bestemt / Til Erkiendtligheds Eksempel, / At Gu (...)

The King Himself – the greater Temple,
Has a smaller Dome designed
To acknowledge and resemble
HIM, to whom our Praise’s consigned,
For Three Centuries of Glory,
During Oldenburgish Reign
Heavenly! Thus is the Story
Of the Danish Royal Line.
1

  • 2 See Chastel-Rousseau ed. 2011.
  • 3 On Frederiksstaden, its buildings and the royal square generally, see Christiansen ed. 1999.

1On 30 March 1754 a solemn ceremony was celebrated in the recently founded (1749) district of Frederiksstaden, a northerly urban expansion of Copenhagen, the capital and residential city of the double monarchy of Denmark-Norway. In the presence of the absolute king, Frederick V (1723–1766), and preceding by one day the royal birthday (31 March), the Lord Chamberlain, Adam Gottlob Moltke could rejoice in the inauguration of his new residence, Moltke’s Palace. Centrally placed in the future district that, significantly, carried the king’s name, the palace was strategically positioned directly in front of the planned royal square with the king’s statue – a Danish version of the trendsetting paradigm established in France by Louis XIV and Louis XV, which was imitated in several European capitals in the eighteenth century.2 As a prominent primus motor behind the great urban project, Moltke might equally look forward to its succeeding stages, the building of other aristocratic residences, town houses and public institutions and last, but definitely not least the establishment of two closely related monuments, epitomizing the very message and meaning of the whole enterprise, the monarch’s equestrian statue and a church, sharing his royal name, Frederick’s Church (Frederikskirken) (fig. 1).3

Fig. 1: Ideal view of Frederick’s Town from Amalienborg Square with Frederick’s Church as a focal point of the central axis. Engraving by Johan Martin Preisler after a drawing by Louis-Auguste Le Clerc, 1766. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

Fig. 1: Ideal view of Frederick’s Town from Amalienborg Square with Frederick’s Church as a focal point of the central axis. Engraving by Johan Martin Preisler after a drawing by Louis-Auguste Le Clerc, 1766. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

© National Museum of Denmark

  • 4 Fagiolo 1971; Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 14043; on Salzburg and Vienna as “Rom des Nordens”, see P (...)

2These promising prospects inspired the Danish poet, Christian Frederik Wadskiær (1713–1779), who presented a poem for the occasion, from which stem the introductory lines. In flowery rhymed stanzas the poem eulogized the absolute king, his reign and the symbolic implications of the royal initiative, the king having gracefully donated the building site, the former garden of Amalienborg, to the City of Copenhagen in September 1749. In his unbridled enthusiasm, Wadskiær described the future town quarter, a competitor to two namesakes in Berlin, Friedrichswerder and Friedrichstadt, baptized after Frederick Wilhelm, the Great Elector, and his successor, King Frederick I of Prussia. Nay in the future the Danish urbs nova would even rival the Eternal City of Rome – or to be more precise, the Lateran: Frederick’s Church represented a Nordic counterpart to Chiesa Nuova. In parenthesis this was a rather mismatched reference to the principal church of the Oratorians, Santa Maria in Vallicella, unless the panegyrist more appropriately had in mind “Il Nuovo Tempio”, that is, Saint John Lateran, the main church of Rome and of the Catholic world.4

  • 5 The ceremony of foundation laying is described by Hersleb (1749); for further references, see the f (...)

3More than the well-intentioned comparisons of the royal encomiast, this paper will focus on the poem’s evocative analogy paragon between the monarch, “the greater Temple” and his image or counterpart, “the smaller Dome”, Frederick’s Church. This building was founded by the king on the momentous date, 30 October 1749, during the tercentenary of the royal Oldenburg dynasty, an event commemorated nationwide and multimedially.5 Apart from his anointment (in 1746) and funeral (in 1766), the jubilee celebration in 1749 constituted the most conspicuous state ceremonial during the reign of Frederick V, who graced the loyal subjects of Copenhagen with his presence at feasts on several occasions.

  • 6 See in particular Sabatier 1999; Sabatier 2010; Sabatier 2012.
  • 7 Rehberg 2004, pp. 30–33.

4Inspired by Gérard Sabatier’s seminal research on representational strategies and encomiastic codes, manifested in visual arts, architecture, ceremonies and literature during Early Modern French Monarchy and most eloquently displayed in the complex of Versailles,6 this overview – with emphasis on religious architecture – will also focus on the semantics of the royal image, re-presenting, doubling or substituting the prince’s charismatic presence. The very magic of presence (Präsenzmagie) has, among other things, been discussed by Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, who points to the crucial importance for political institutions of establishing images, symbols and signs, creating presence during rituals of power.7 In his analysis Rehberg refers to four categories:

    • 8 Weber 1922.

    Body symbols (Leib-Symbole), staging the charismatic authority (in Max Weber’s sense) of political or religious leaders through direct participation or indirect representation8.

  1. Symbols of places or objects (Raum- und Ding-Symbole), representing elements of reference.

  2. Symbols of time (Zeit-Symbole), materializing chronological orders and individual historical events.

  3. Symbols of texts (Text-Symbole), referring to texts, including sacred books, charters of constitutions or law codices.

  • 9 A discussion of the visual staging and intermedial communication of a ritual act of vital political (...)
  • 10 Sabatier 1999, p. 43.
  • 11 Sabatier 2010, p. 42.

5Taking Frederick’s Church as our point of departure, the visual and ritual signs of body, place and time shall be discussed as elements in a symbolic communication – with a brief retrospective on royal patronage in religious architecture during Early Absolutism.9 At the same time, the incumbent paradox of Versailles deserves to be kept in mind, constituting in relation to the construction of the French Monarchy, according to Gérard Sabatier, the “formulation la plus achevée du fantasme de l’absolutisme et simultanément lieu où commença à se produire, à propos de cette formulation, une cassure anticipant la crise du concept meme d’absolutisme”.10 Antidotes towards this impossible fantasy of absolutism would be the strategic use of “supports les plus nobles et les plus éternels”, in particular sumptuous building materials such as marble or bronze.11

  • 12 Hersleb (1749), p. 105f.
  • 13 See Bøggild Johannsen 1987.

6The agenda of immortalization was fundamental in the case of Frederick’s Church, though this lofty goal would at the end prove devastating. As pointed out in the foundation sermon by the Bishop of Zeeland, Peder Hersleb, the church should not only function as a parochial church for the local community, but was declared to be a memorial to God’s benevolence towards the Oldenburg dynasty over three hundred years years and as a votive monument, reflecting the king’s piety and gratitude for Divine Grace.12 These supreme motivations should determine the megalomaniac design of the planned domed building of a centralized plan, the multitude of projects progressively elaborated and in particular its material exuberance, according to royal orders destined to be built in solid Norwegian marble – not omitting the lengthy time of building, stipulated to last at least one hundred years (!). In 1770, due to excessive costs, building works at the church, nicknamed by contemporaries “the Marble Church”, came to a caesura, which would last for more than a century. Between 1874 and 1894, the years following the constitutional change and the end of absolutism (1849), the church was finished according to a markedly reduced plan by a private citizen, the banker Carl Frederik Tietgen.13 Evidently, the original vision of the church as the epitome of the felicitous and peaceful government of King Frederick V and as a lieu de mémoire of Danish Absolutism was now irrelevant. However, as a still poignant religious and political symbol, Frederick’s Church was “reborn” as a monument to, among other things, the Lutheran Reformation – thus annihilating its eventual sad decree of fate as an image of political impotence.

Pietas Oldenburgica: Religious Patronage of the Absolute King

  • 14 Hersleb (1749), 113f.; Hersleb 1750, p. 4.
  • 15 On the iconography of the Versailles chapel and the paradigm of Solomon’s Temple, see Maral 2001, i (...)
  • 16 Roding 2011; Isaiasz 2012, in particular p. 26.
  • 17 See Bøggild Johannsen and Johannsen 2012.
  • 18 Jørgensen ed., 1886, p. 45; see among others, Hersleb 1742.
  • 19 See Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 135–40.

7In his sermon at the foundation of Frederick’s Church, Bishop Hersleb, appropriately praised the example of the king’s predecessors, in particular his grandfather and father, Frederick IV (1671–1730) and Christian VI (1699–1746), for having taken personally care of the augmentation of Copenhagen’s churches, thus demonstrating the extraordinary Piety and Love to God specific to the Oldenburg dynasty. At the same time he evoked the paradigm of Solomon and the Temple of Jerusalem, paralleling the magnificent and costly structure with the very House of Oldenburg itself, both being large houses, built by kings.14 These topoi of universal relevance to a Christian prince, also recalled in relation to King Louis XIV and his Royal Chapel at Versailles,15 were equally recurrent models for Danish kings, including prior to the introduction of Absolutism in 1660, as well as a decisive point of reference in general for the biblical legitimacy of Protestant churches.16 Since the official introduction of Lutheran Reformation in 1536, the Danish king was head of the National Church, a position that entailed a general obligation to promote religious architecture in the realms.17 The supreme power in all ecclesiastical matters given to the absolute monarch according to the Lex Regia (§6, 1665) and the sovereign’s declared Divine status on earth,18 represented a further impetus to transform churches of royal patronage into representative stages, both of the Solomonic parallel in particular19 and of the absolutist ideology in general, firmly resting on the pillars of the Augsburg Confession.

  • 20 See Johannsen and Smidt 1985, pp. 136–54. In general, see the monographic descriptions in Danmarks (...)
  • 21 Chapels of Frederiksberg (1710), Fredensborg (1726), Copenhagen Castle (1727), Hirschholm (1739) an (...)
  • 22 A close reading of royal religious praxis in Denmark during the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy and Pieti (...)
  • 23 See Bøggild Johannsen 2012, pp. 303–34.

8Because of the continued use of pre-Reformation churches after 1536, there was little religious building activity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Three categories of churches, especially patronized by the kings, existed in the metropolis or its immediate vicinity: 1) palace chapels; 2) military, orphanage and hospital churches, as well as churches of selected religious minorities; and 3) churches in new townships.20 The first category, of which no less than five examples in relation to new royal palaces were erected during the first century of Absolutism, 21 had a key value, reflecting what Gérard Sabatier calls “une iconographie proclamatoire” of royal magnificence as well as of princely piety, the chapels framing the regular services for the royal house and the different rites of passage of a more private nature (baptisms, confirmations and marriages).22 From 1671 privacy also dominated the main rituals of state, with the anointment of the absolute king, taking place in the early-seventeenth palace chapel at Frederiksborg. In addition, the initial stage of his funeral, the monarch’s castrum doloris, was (except for one case in 1730) held at the residence chapel in Copenhagen prior to the public burial in Roskilde Cathedral.23

  • 24 See also Bøggild Johannsen and Johannsen 1993, pp. 196–98. The motif of the king’s self-identificat (...)
  • 25 On the pictorial programme, see Smed 1990, pp. 201–16.

9The most eloquent vision of Absolutism, prior to Frederick’s Church, was evinced in a parochial church, the Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke, 1682–1696). This building replaced an earlier modest structure, more in the vein of urbs nova of Christianshavn, founded in 1618 by Christian IV (1577–1648). In furnishings and decorations, the Greek cross church exuberantly propagated the message of Divine kingship, the portrait, heraldic symbols and monogram of the royal patron, Christian V (1646–1699) together with allusions to his personal motto and virtues pervading the imagery together with biblical subjects. A particular subject emphasizing the Christomimesis of the monarch was represented in the altar, a work by the Swedish court architect, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. In the centre Christ’s Agony in the Garden, framed by statues of the king’s personal virtues, Piety and Justice, was depicted.24 Above the composite structure, including the name of Jehovah, angels upheld the closed crown of Absolutism (fig. 2). Though actually executed, this last element, however, would be left out of the final composition during the lengthy building process. The church, which was inaugurated on 19 April 1696 – the first Sunday after the king’s birthday (15 April) – and was accordingly (in Bishop Henrik Bornemann’s exegesis on the Book of Zachary 4:7–9) compared to the Temple of Jerusalem, while King Christian was likened to Zerubbabel, Solomon’s successor – thus in several respects constituting a rehearsal for the future royal temple.25

Fig. 2: The altar of the Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen. Drawing attributed to René Chauveau after the maquette by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, c. 1695. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.

Fig. 2: The altar of the Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen. Drawing attributed to René Chauveau after the maquette by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, c. 1695. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.

© Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Figuring the Body of the Prince: Name and Commemorative Dates, Portraits and Virtues

  • 26 Hersleb (1749), p. 111.

10As optimistically prophesized by Bishop Hersleb during the ceremony in 1749, the agency of the omnipotent monarch at the placement of the foundation stone of Frederick’s Church represented a promising beginning as well as an omen of the successful completion of the magnificent temple of unusual size and strange design – “a truly royal building, in every respect comparable to the great name, which it in due course it shall bear”.26

  • 27 Lünig 1719–1720, II, pp. 321–59.
  • 28 See Isaiasz 2012; Bøggild Johannsen and Johannsen 2012, in particular pp. 240–48.
  • 29 Polleross 1998, pp. 149–56.
  • 30 Raschzok 1988, pp. 465, 647.
  • 31 Graff 1921, pp. 400–14, 409 in particular. A remarkable list of church dedications to the king and (...)

11In the “ceremonial bible” of Early Modern Europe, Johann Christian Lünig’s Theatrum Ceremoniale, the placement of foundation stones or the consecration of churches by princes were generally considered as political acts of great importance (Staatssachen), lending lustre to the initiator and demonstrating both his piety and paternal care for his subjects’ spiritual well-being.27 Though these acts were from the beginning only reluctantly integrated into Protestant liturgy for fear of any “Catholic abuse”, a renegotiated praxis had, since the seventeenth century, become increasingly common, including in Denmark.28 As to the name given in general in relation to new townships as well as to churches, parallels between the chosen patronage and the elevated name of the princely patron were of course prevalent within both confessions,29 though the expressive dissociation from the use of saints’ names or days became self-evident in Protestant Europe. Most frequently church dedications would comprise “neutral” names as Trinity, Saviour or Holy Spirit, as well as topographical references, but although this issue gave occasion for dispute,30 selected churches were given the name of the sovereign or his spouse.31 In fact, Frederick’s Church had predecessors and parallels in Germany (Worms, 1699; Gotha, 1715; Potsdam-Babelsberg, 1753) as well as in Sweden (Karlskrona, 1720). During the king’s reign, the praxis spread into Christianshavn (Frederick’s German Church for the German community, dedicated in 1759, though in 1901 renamed Christian’s Church), Hammelwarden, Oldenburg (1764) and Central Jutland (1766).

  • 32 The inauguration had to be postponed due to the hard winter weather. See Danmarks Kirker 1960–1988, (...)

12The figure of the unified bodies of the king and his church would further be emphasized by the deliberate choice of royal commemorative days for the foundations or inaugurations, representing alternatives to the high feasts of the ecclesiastical year. According to the plans, the birthday of King Frederick V (31 March), previously mentioned, should also have been the day for laying the foundation of his second namesake at Christianshavn,32 while the birthdays of his predecessors, Frederick IV and Christian VI (11 October and 30 November, respectively) were chosen for the inaugurations of the palace chapels at Fredensborg (1726) and Copenhagen (1727), as well as at the renovated Church of the Holy Spirit, likewise in Copenhagen (1732). It is almost unnecessary to point out, the king and his family were present at all the mentioned events.

  • 33 On the prince’s pew in Evangelical churches, see Kiessling 1995.
  • 34 All projects and descriptions of the iconographic programme are presented in Bøggild Johannsen 1987 (...)
  • 35 Hersleb 1750, pp. 1–5; Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 135–38 with reference in particular to the examp (...)

13The charismatic presence of the monarch in his churches, architecturally manifested by the prominent position of the royal pew,33 was most poignantly visualized by his portraits, monograms, insignia, mottos, coats-of-arms and other royal symbols. Speaking symbols of no less value were the presentation of the king’s personal virtues, reflecting his motto. Given the particular character of Frederick’s Church a large number of projects was presented during the initial phases of planning.34 In the early projects by the court architect Nicolai Eigtved, the king’s portrait (see also below), together with his monogram and signature virtues, Prudence and Constancy, would constitute the main decoration of the exterior’s principal facade, facing east (fig. 3). Bishop Hersleb added a learned exegesis of the duplicity of the royal motto, “Prudentia et Constantia”, not only referring to the double monarchy of Denmark-Norway, but in a subtle analogy, also to the emblematic meaning of the two pillars in front of Salomon’s Temple, Jachin and Boaz. This may also help to explain the emphatic use of double columns in the church, both on the exterior as well as in the interior.35

Fig. 3: Frederick’s Church. Drawing of the main facade according to Nicolai Eigtved’s project of 10 April 1754. Royal Archives, Copenhagen. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.

Fig. 3: Frederick’s Church. Drawing of the main facade according to Nicolai Eigtved’s project of 10 April 1754. Royal Archives, Copenhagen. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.

© Royal Archives, Copenhagen

  • 36 Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 536–38, 548–53. The artists involved were the sculptor Johannes Wiedewe (...)

14During the lengthy work on the royal enterprise, the iconographic programme was reformulated. A large sculpted and painted maquette, created between 1758 and 1760, during the direction of the French architect, Nicolas-Henri Jardin, illustrated the transformation.36 Apparently King Frederick’s portrait was now left out and the express references to his symbols and personal virtues subdued. However, in parallel to the Church of Our Saviour, the altar would allude to the subject of royal compassion with a representation of a pietà with an accompanying angel (fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Frederick’s Church. Cross-section of the western perspective, with the altar, pulpit and organ. Engraving from Nicolas-Henri Jardin, Plans, coupes et elevations …, 1769. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.

Fig. 4: Frederick’s Church. Cross-section of the western perspective, with the altar, pulpit and organ. Engraving from Nicolas-Henri Jardin, Plans, coupes et elevations …, 1769. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.

© Royal Library, Copenhagen

  • 37 Bøggild Johannsen 1999, p. 144.
  • 38 Hersleb (1749), p. 114.
  • 39 Jardin 1765 (1769).
  • 40 Jardin 1766; Bøggild Johannsen 2012, p. 323f.

15A pictorial cycle illustrating the Lord’s sufferings was to decorate the ceilings of the lower gallery. However, the later projects reflect a significant increase in the virtues represented (twenty-nine in toto), a majority of these referring to specific “royal” virtues, mentioned or illustrated, as well in contemporary texts and ephemeral decorations.37 As emphasized by Bishop Hersleb, the new temple would in this way mirror the collected body of virtues specific to the Oldenborg monarchs.38 However, in the royal monumentum virtutis, Piety eclipsed everything else, as the projected temple (according to the printed edition of Jardin’s project drawings) literally constituted a “monument de la piété” of Frederick V.39 And at the king’s demise in 1766, when the highlights of his reign should be communicated, the image of Frederick’s Church would epitomize “la Pieuse Magnificence” as represented in the decoration, framing the exuberant castrum doloris in the shape of a monumental Egyptian pyramid, designed by Jardin for the Palace Chapel at Christiansborg – in itself a powerful “symbole de l’immortalité”.40 On the memorial medal by Daniel Jensen Adzer (fig. 5), Pietas, presented as a mother suckling her baby, was shown directly in front of the projected church. Above her head was the admonitory motto: “Vetat mori” (Prevents death), a paraphrase of Horace’s well-known creed to immortality through the agency of the Muse (Odes, IV, 8, 28).

Fig. 5: Medal by Daniel Jensen Adzer, struck in commemoration of the death of Frederick V in 1766. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

Fig. 5: Medal by Daniel Jensen Adzer, struck in commemoration of the death of Frederick V in 1766. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

© National Museum of Denmark

Images of Immortality: Frederick’s Church as a Lieu de Mémoire for the Absolute King and the Lutheran Church

  • 41 Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 530, 536–42.
  • 42 Bøggild Johannsen 1985, pp. 107–11.
  • 43 Jardin’s project included sixteen portraits (of kings?) as decoration on the two flanking towers.
  • 44 Rader 2002, p. 459.

16At the demise of King Frederick V on 14 January 1766, the exterior walls of his church had only reached a height of between 10 and 15 metres. Two months later his successor, Christian VII (1749–1808) drastically reduced the budget by 50 per cent, an ominous anticipation of the final construction ban in 1770.41 During the preceding years, the vision of the king’s great temple had been widely communicated through various media, project drawings and prints, medals, written descriptions, and the large maquette (destroyed by fire in 1794). A related structure, temporary but nonetheless of central importance as a prelude to the church’s pictorial programme, was the erection in 1749 of a large octagonal “Temple of Honour”, dedicated to the Felicitas Temporum of the Oldenburgish reign by the Copenhagen city council (fig. 6).42 On the cupola, a pedestal topped by a crown presented the Oldenburg coats-of-arms, with an inscription referring to the prospect of eternal heavenly bliss under the royal dynasty. Furthermore, the structure was embellished with several portraits, emblems and texts, referring to the deeds and virtues of the twelve Oldenburg kings since 1449, naturally with an emphasis on the ruling monarch as speaking symbols of time in anticipation of the decoration on the early projects for the Frederick’s Church (fig. 2).43 Although this church was never intended as an actual royal mausoleum, replacing the still active Pantheon of kings in Roskilde Cathedral, Frederick’s Church – in parallel to the portrait galleries of the residences, particularly in the castles of Kronborg, Frederiksborg and Cristiansborg – it would visually have communicated the myth of continuity of dynastic power as a collective lieu de mémoire or an “accumulator of symbols”.44

Fig. 6: Temple of Honour, erected in front of the Copenhagen City Hall in at the 1749 Tercentenary of the Oldenburg Dynasty. Engraving by Jonas Haas, c. 1755, after a project by Johann Christoph Holtzbecher. Royal Library, Copenhagen.

Fig. 6: Temple of Honour, erected in front of the Copenhagen City Hall in at the 1749 Tercentenary of the Oldenburg Dynasty. Engraving by Jonas Haas, c. 1755, after a project by Johann Christoph Holtzbecher. Royal Library, Copenhagen.

© Royal Library, Copenhagen

  • 45 See Josephson 1925, pp. 27–43; Josephson 1930–1931, II, pp. 119–34; Olin 2002.
  • 46 Montagu 1962, p. 18.
  • 47 Ibid, p. 18-22.

17In this context, a previous utopian project to a royal church deserves to be introduced as a tertium comparationis to the Danish example, the Swedish court architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger’s colossal “Templum Regiis coronationibus et sepulturis consecratum” at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, elaborated during several stages, from around 1688 until 1713 and destined as the focal point for an axis leading to the royal residence (fig. 7).45 Following a Latin cross plan, yet with a centralized, cupola-crowned chancel, the structure architecturally represented a “musée imaginaire”,46 epitomizing the sum of its author’s studies in London, Paris and Rome, though with the clear ambition to match or even eclipse the magnificence of the models in order to evoke the subjects’ admiratio and love of virtue.47 Though the Swedish vision, the creation of a coronation – and funeral-church – was entirely different from the Danish example, which had no defined ceremonial functions, its eclecticism bears close resemblance to Frederick’s Church, with prominent references to Roman Baroque, in particular the composition of the facade with the large ribbed cupola, the two towers and the column portico. Yet Tessin aimed higher. His ambition was to create a major temple for the entire Lutheran world, a parallel to Saint Peter’s in Rome and an appropriate tribute to the Swedish kings as leading defenders of the Protestant cause.

Fig. 7: Proposal for a royal coronation and sepulchral church at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm. Drawing, c. 1708 after Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Fig. 7: Proposal for a royal coronation and sepulchral church at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm. Drawing, c. 1708 after Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

© Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

  • 48 Danmarks Kirker 1960–1988, 6, pp. 284–86. On the Reformation jubilee, see also Bøggild Johannsen (2 (...)
  • 49 Hersleb (1749), pp. 2–3,116.
  • 50 See Kuke1996.
  • 51 See Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 140–43; for more information Martini 2000.
  • 52 See Bøggild Johannsen 1987, p. 516.

18This evidently called for a Danish rejoinder. In 1736, on the bicentenary of the Danish Reformation, King Christian VI proposed a large memorial church of centralized structure in Copenhagen, and although little is known of the soon-abandoned plan,48 Frederick’s Church should be considered a fulfilment of this enterprise, the laying of the foundation stone – not at random – coinciding with the memorial day (30 October) of the Danish Reformation, a major triumph of the early Oldenburg monarchs, as emphasized by Bishop Hersleb.49 However, at this late moment, the Lutheran world had already been distinguished with a monumental cupola church, the Frauenkirche in Dresden (1726–1743) – praised by contemporaries as “das wahre Ebenbild” or “a true replica” of Saint Peter’s.50 Though the image of Saint John Lateran, the Archbasilica of the Catholic Church was – as previously mentioned – also evoked in relation to Frederick’s Church, Saint Peter’s reflected an even more powerful paradigm, though imbued with ambiguous meanings. This latter monument represented both an obvious architectural model and a poignant memorial symbol –- prospective as well as retrospective – for the Christian Church. However, regarded from a Lutheran perspective this symbol of time also had decidedly negative connotations, , epitomizing the “Catholic slavery” as exemplified by the memorial medal struck at the Danish Reformation jubilee in 1736 (fig. 8).51 Nor was the liturgical adaptation of the centralized structure into Protestant use without problems, nor was the royal temple’s excessive proportions and non-functional acoustics for a space, preferably meant for preaching, as inferred by a critic of Jardin’s project, the Danish architect G. D. Anthon. In short, Frederick’s Church might be accused of being “a mere monument”.52

Fig. 8. “I have liberated you from the Home of the Slaves.” The Lutheran Church represented in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Commemorative medal by Georg Wilhelm Wahl, struck in 1736 to the bicentenary of the Danish Reformation. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

Fig. 8. “I have liberated you from the Home of the Slaves.” The Lutheran Church represented in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Commemorative medal by Georg Wilhelm Wahl, struck in 1736 to the bicentenary of the Danish Reformation. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

© National Museum of Denmark

Epilogue: Negotiating Royal Representation

19As declared by Christian Wadskiær in his eulogy, Frederick’s Town had two nuclei, figuring or doubling the presence of the monarch: the Royal Temple, and directly opposite, the King’s Monument, representing:

He Himself – the Royal Essence

Of His Kingdom far and near –

In this Centro’s Coalescence

  • 53 Wadskiær (1754): “”Som han selv i hvert sit Rige / I det store Centro her / Concentrere jo tillige (...)

Gathers all our Hopes held dear.53

  • 54 Suhm 1794, pp. 65–71; see also Bøggild Johannsen 1985.
  • 55 Galster 1936, 294f.; Salling 1999.

20Constituting both actual and symbolic centres of his home city and realms, it might have been expected that Frederick V, during his late reign, would have continuously included these meaning-laden spaces in political ceremonials and graced them with his presence. This appears, remarkably enough, not to have been the case, though an obvious opportunity arose in 1760 when the Absolutist government celebrated its first centenary. However, the festivities of 16 to 18 October 1760 became an anti-climax, which according to contemporaries, bore more resemblance to a ceremony of mourning than to a festival of rejoicing, as had been the case in 1749. For unknown reasons, the king chose to stay at his residence, Fredensborg Castle in Northern Zealand.54 Accordingly, royal orders of striking and distributing medals were abandoned and only a limited selection of memorial medals was produced, financed by private funds or institutions. This is the case for the medal made at the instigation of A. G. Moltke and the Asiatic Company, and placed by Moltke (rather than by the king himself), in the base of the equestrian monument made by the French sculptor J. F. Saly.55 Needless to say, the city council gave up on its large project for an ephemeral monument to Absolutism – a domed composition in wood, canvas and paper, similar to the decoration of 1749. In parallel to the later church projects, portraits of the absolute kings had now been supplanted by images of virtues, especially referring to the pious, felicitous and peaceful – though absent – King Frederick V. It should further be noted that the anger incited in the public due to the event’s unsuccessful completion gave occasion for the exhibition of a number of decidedly anti-aristocratic illuminations, exposing members of the nobility who were blamed for having kept the king away from his loyal home city.

  • 56 Anchersen 1758; Anonymous 1766.
  • 57 Hersleb 1750, p. 9; Rabreau 2011.
  • 58 Salling and Smidt 2004, pp. 31–35.

21In spite of these problems of presence and the declining enthusiasm of the king and his successorfor the completion of the church, royal encomiasts praised Frederick’s status as “Ædificator Optimus”, having demonstrated in both religious and civil enterprises his singular magnificence, noble generosity, royal compassion and paternal care for his subjects during his peaceful reign.56 The king’s name “Frederick” means “rich in peace” (Frederiig). At the same time, Saly’s monument, following the model of Edmé Bouchardon for Louis XV, visually proclaimed the ideal of the royal peacemaker, promoting the flowering of trade, science, art and architecture.57 Among the king’s most prominent cultural accomplishments was the reconstitution –on the royal birthday, 31 March 1754 – of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, open to Danish and foreign artists, with as its first director and architecture professor the very authors of the king’s monuments in Frederick’s Town, Saly and Jardin, respectively. However, both were dismissed early in Christian VII’s reign (Jardin in 1770 and Saly in 1774), victims not only to changed economic conditions, but probably as well to a declared nationalism, discriminating against non-Danish artists.58

  • 59 Sabatier 2010, p. 198.
  • 60 Lorente 2000; Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 588–91, 600.
  • 61 Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 638, 685.

22During the succeeding century, the figure of the King’s Temple as a memorial to the sovereign and his piety or a “talisman de la monarchie absolue”,59 would shift focus, not least in the wake of a political constitutional change, as mentioned in the introduction. However, the visionary and transformative qualities of the Great Monument were still vital. During the early nineteenth century the ruinous remnants of the colossus generated new projects, predominantly striking a nationalistic note, including in relation to a museum for Danish art or a hall of fame for the country’s renowned men, both with the status of “cathedrals of urban modernity” instead of houses for the Lord.60 When Frederick’s Church was completed in 1894 it was redefined as a monument to the Reformation, the statue of Martin Luther being prominently placed at the entrance together with image of N. F. S. Grundtvig, the major Danish theologian of the nineteenth century, while the primordial motto of the Lutheran Reformation, “Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum” was inscribed above the porch. Yet it remains an illustrative image of the power of cohesion and consensus, particular to the constitutional monarchy of Denmark, that the king, Christian IX (1818–1906), the first monarch of the House of Glücksburg, honoured the inauguration of the new building with his presence, while the church’s financier, C. F. Tietgen, declared it the “People’s Memorial” (Folkeminde) to the new royal dynasty instead of a “Royal Memorial (Kongeminde)” to the extinct Oldenburg dynasty.61

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Bibliographie

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Notes

1 “Kongen selv - det store Tempel / har et mindre her bestemt / Til Erkiendtligheds Eksempel, / At Guds Tak blev ikke glemt / For Trehundred-Aarig Alder / Af den Himmelborgiske/som sig Oldenborgisk kalder / Danske Konge-Linie …”, see Wadskiær 1754. I am grateful to Helle Thune for the translation of Wadskiær’s poem.

2 See Chastel-Rousseau ed. 2011.

3 On Frederiksstaden, its buildings and the royal square generally, see Christiansen ed. 1999.

4 Fagiolo 1971; Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 14043; on Salzburg and Vienna as “Rom des Nordens”, see Polleross 1998, pp. 149–56.

5 The ceremony of foundation laying is described by Hersleb (1749); for further references, see the fundamental monograph on Frederick’s Church, Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 461–774, especially p. 473f. On the festivities of 1749, see Bøggild Johannsen 1985.

6 See in particular Sabatier 1999; Sabatier 2010; Sabatier 2012.

7 Rehberg 2004, pp. 30–33.

8 Weber 1922.

9 A discussion of the visual staging and intermedial communication of a ritual act of vital political implications, the very birth of absolutism in Denmark in 1660 during a coup d’ètat, see Bøggild Johannsen 2010. In fact, as stressed by Louis Marin, this tremendum of a coup d’état constitutes “l’épiphanie foudroyante de la violence”, the primitive manifestation or the origin of absolute power in itself, “l’acte meme du mystère de l’État”, see Marin 2005, p. 204f.

10 Sabatier 1999, p. 43.

11 Sabatier 2010, p. 42.

12 Hersleb (1749), p. 105f.

13 See Bøggild Johannsen 1987.

14 Hersleb (1749), 113f.; Hersleb 1750, p. 4.

15 On the iconography of the Versailles chapel and the paradigm of Solomon’s Temple, see Maral 2001, in particular p. 30; Edmunds 2002, in particular pp. 81, 89, 204 and 228.

16 Roding 2011; Isaiasz 2012, in particular p. 26.

17 See Bøggild Johannsen and Johannsen 2012.

18 Jørgensen ed., 1886, p. 45; see among others, Hersleb 1742.

19 See Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 135–40.

20 See Johannsen and Smidt 1985, pp. 136–54. In general, see the monographic descriptions in Danmarks Kirker 1960–1988; Danmarks Kirker 1967.

21 Chapels of Frederiksberg (1710), Fredensborg (1726), Copenhagen Castle (1727), Hirschholm (1739) and Christiansborg (1740).

22 A close reading of royal religious praxis in Denmark during the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy and Pietism is still a desideratum. For a European survey, see Schaich ed. 2007, with a contribution by Gérard Sabatier on royal religious rituals in France, pp. 248–81 (see also Sabatier 2010, pp. 413–37).

23 See Bøggild Johannsen 2012, pp. 303–34.

24 See also Bøggild Johannsen and Johannsen 1993, pp. 196–98. The motif of the king’s self-identification with the suffering Christ was in particular elaborated during the reign of Christian IV, in the Palace Chapel at Frederiksborg amongst other sites, see Johannsen 2010. The subject of the Agony, after Charles Le Brun, was also used by Tessin in other contexts, including for the projected altar in the Palace Chapel in Stockholm, Montagu 1962, pp. 6–11.

25 On the pictorial programme, see Smed 1990, pp. 201–16.

26 Hersleb (1749), p. 111.

27 Lünig 1719–1720, II, pp. 321–59.

28 See Isaiasz 2012; Bøggild Johannsen and Johannsen 2012, in particular pp. 240–48.

29 Polleross 1998, pp. 149–56.

30 Raschzok 1988, pp. 465, 647.

31 Graff 1921, pp. 400–14, 409 in particular. A remarkable list of church dedications to the king and queen (or queen dowager) is represented in Sweden from the Age of Greatness in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. See also Olin 2002, p. 168, however, apparently regarding this as a remarkable Swedish custom. In Denmark the earliest example probably was the unfinished church in Copenhagen, dedicated c. 1610 to Queen Anna Catherine, see Danmarks Kirker 1960–1988, 6, p. 241.

32 The inauguration had to be postponed due to the hard winter weather. See Danmarks Kirker 1960–1988, IV, p. 84.

33 On the prince’s pew in Evangelical churches, see Kiessling 1995.

34 All projects and descriptions of the iconographic programme are presented in Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 467–570.

35 Hersleb 1750, pp. 1–5; Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 135–38 with reference in particular to the example of Emperor Charles VI and Karlskirche in Vienna; see, among others, Polleross 1996, pp. 185–89.

36 Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 536–38, 548–53. The artists involved were the sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt and the Swedish painter, Carl Gustaf Pilo. For a discussion of the projects by Jardin, who was leader of the building works between 1755 and 1770, see Kjær 2010, pp. 236–303.

37 Bøggild Johannsen 1999, p. 144.

38 Hersleb (1749), p. 114.

39 Jardin 1765 (1769).

40 Jardin 1766; Bøggild Johannsen 2012, p. 323f.

41 Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 530, 536–42.

42 Bøggild Johannsen 1985, pp. 107–11.

43 Jardin’s project included sixteen portraits (of kings?) as decoration on the two flanking towers.

44 Rader 2002, p. 459.

45 See Josephson 1925, pp. 27–43; Josephson 1930–1931, II, pp. 119–34; Olin 2002.

46 Montagu 1962, p. 18.

47 Ibid, p. 18-22.

48 Danmarks Kirker 1960–1988, 6, pp. 284–86. On the Reformation jubilee, see also Bøggild Johannsen (2012.

49 Hersleb (1749), pp. 2–3,116.

50 See Kuke1996.

51 See Bøggild Johannsen 1999, pp. 140–43; for more information Martini 2000.

52 See Bøggild Johannsen 1987, p. 516.

53 Wadskiær (1754): “”Som han selv i hvert sit Rige / I det store Centro her / Concentrere jo tillige / Alle Ønskers Linier”. Translated by Helle Thune.

54 Suhm 1794, pp. 65–71; see also Bøggild Johannsen 1985.

55 Galster 1936, 294f.; Salling 1999.

56 Anchersen 1758; Anonymous 1766.

57 Hersleb 1750, p. 9; Rabreau 2011.

58 Salling and Smidt 2004, pp. 31–35.

59 Sabatier 2010, p. 198.

60 Lorente 2000; Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 588–91, 600.

61 Bøggild Johannsen 1987, pp. 638, 685.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: Ideal view of Frederick’s Town from Amalienborg Square with Frederick’s Church as a focal point of the central axis. Engraving by Johan Martin Preisler after a drawing by Louis-Auguste Le Clerc, 1766. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.
Crédits © National Museum of Denmark
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 10M
Titre Fig. 2: The altar of the Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen. Drawing attributed to René Chauveau after the maquette by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, c. 1695. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.
Crédits © Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 10M
Titre Fig. 3: Frederick’s Church. Drawing of the main facade according to Nicolai Eigtved’s project of 10 April 1754. Royal Archives, Copenhagen. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.
Crédits © Royal Archives, Copenhagen
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 8,1M
Titre Fig. 4: Frederick’s Church. Cross-section of the western perspective, with the altar, pulpit and organ. Engraving from Nicolas-Henri Jardin, Plans, coupes et elevations …, 1769. Reproduced from Danmarks Kirker.
Crédits © Royal Library, Copenhagen
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 7,4M
Titre Fig. 5: Medal by Daniel Jensen Adzer, struck in commemoration of the death of Frederick V in 1766. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.
Crédits © National Museum of Denmark
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 892k
Titre Fig. 6: Temple of Honour, erected in front of the Copenhagen City Hall in at the 1749 Tercentenary of the Oldenburg Dynasty. Engraving by Jonas Haas, c. 1755, after a project by Johann Christoph Holtzbecher. Royal Library, Copenhagen.
Crédits © Royal Library, Copenhagen
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 9,5M
Titre Fig. 7: Proposal for a royal coronation and sepulchral church at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm. Drawing, c. 1708 after Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
Crédits © Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 512k
Titre Fig. 8. “I have liberated you from the Home of the Slaves.” The Lutheran Church represented in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Commemorative medal by Georg Wilhelm Wahl, struck in 1736 to the bicentenary of the Danish Reformation. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.
Crédits © National Museum of Denmark
URL http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/docannexe/image/14740/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 857k
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Birgitte Bøggild Johannsen, « The King and His Temple », Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles [En ligne], Le promeneur de Versailles, mis en ligne le 03 avril 2018, consulté le 16 octobre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/14740

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Birgitte Bøggild Johannsen

Rédactrice en chef du Danmarks Kirker publié par le musée national du Danemark/Editor in chief of the Danmarks Kirker published by National Museum of Denmark. Membre des comités scientifiques internationaux de plusieurs programmes/Member of scientifc committes of various research programmes (« Mémoire monarchique et la construction de l’Europe », Centre de recherche du château du Versailles ; « Medieval Memoria Online », MeMO, Utrecht University) ; « PALATIUM. Court Residences as Places of Exchange in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe 1400-1700 » (European Science Foundation). birgitte.b.johannsen@natmus.dk

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