Peter Gillgren

Stockholm University

Peter Gillgren is professor of Art History at Stockholm University. His publications include articles on Renaissance and Baroque art, as well as on the methods of Art History: Vasarenässansen. Konst och identitet i 1500-talets Sverige (2009). A book length study of spectatorship and site specificity in relation to Federico Barocci's art was published by Ashgate in 2011. Recent publications include Kyrkornas hemligheter (2010, 2017) and Siting Michelangelo: Spectatorship, Site Specficity and Soundscape (2017).

Item of interest: The Greek scholars of Skokloster’s library

In the Skokloster library are found five portraits of important Greek thinkers: Socrates, Pythagoras, Thuchydides, Solon and Homer. The portraits are mentioned for the first time in an inventory of 1727 and were at the time placed in the Nantes room, a room that was already then used for the library. There is a possibility that the portraits were painted for Wrangel’s original library of 1665, even though they could also come from the libraries of Visingsborg or Rydboholm that were brought to Skokloster in 1680 and around 1700, respectively.

The Greek scholars represent different types of knowledge and learning. Socrates was a philosopher, Pythagoras a mathematician, Thuchydides an historian, Solon represents law and Homer poetry. This indicates that the portraits were used as shelf marks, directing the user of the library to different kinds of literature. If this is the case the paintings were probably closely integrated with the book shelves and it seems more likely that they rather were part of the original library design than cut out of such contexts and brought here from other places. We know little for certain about the design of the first library at Skolkloster and these paintings could be an important clue towards its reconstruction.

Contact: peter.gillgren@arthistory.su.se