The Medal in Early Modern Sweden: Significances and Practices

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


This thesis analyses medals issued between 1560 and 1792 in Sweden and studies the practices and roles related to these objects. It aims to contribute to the understanding of the varying uses and functions of early modern medals by applying a long-term perspective that connects Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical medals. The study asks why are medals commissioned, how the intention is reflected in the visual design and materiality of the medal, how medals were used during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, which continuities and changes the practices show over time, and what cultural significance medals have in early modern Swedish society. Theoretically, the thesis applies an art anthropological approach to the medium, focusing on its materiality, meaning and use. By drawing on visual and archival sources materials and examining material from a Northern European context, the thesis provides an unprecedented wide-ranging study of the functions and meanings of early modern medals.

Parallel to Sweden’s historical and cultural development, the analysis follows medal art chronologically and thematically in five chapters. The study addresses the transformation from being a royal gift to prize medals and rewards and from limited use to being available at an open market. It examines how the medal was viewed, handled, circulated, and used plus what significance people ascribed to it. The medium aided the sitter’s commemoration, self-fashioning, and legitimisation while being used as a gift, worn as a jewel, collected, discussed, or viewed as an artefact with antiquarian purposes. The medal was appreciated for its potential to express various themes on a small surface, its exclusive material and practical size. However, much of its meaning was connected to the sensory experience of touching the medal. The medium’s materiality was an essential element of how the medal was used, the way its visual design communicated with the beholder, and the importance that the object conveyed. By its broad and exhaustive timeline, the thesis presents a comprehensive case study on the phenomenon of medal art and aids in understanding how early modern art and visual culture was used and how these uses changed over time.
Tilldelande institution
  • Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna
  • Söderlind, Solfrid, handledare
  • Qvarnström, Ludwig, Biträdande handledare
  • Eriksson, Johan , Biträdande handledare, Extern person
Tilldelningsdatum2021 dec. 10
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-985800-4-4
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-91-985800-5-1
StatusPublished - 2021 nov. 12

Bibliografisk information

Defence details
Date: 2021-12-10
Time: 13:15
Place: LUX C121 eller via Zoom - Meeting ID: 692 4090 6355, Password: 199973
External reviewer
Name: Aleksandra Lipinska
Title: professor
Affiliation: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Konstvetenskap
  • Bildkonst


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