Mural Paintings

The church ceiling arch was completed at the day of Saint Peter Martyr, on April 29th in 1444. This becomes clear by an inscription in Latin which translates as follows: “To God and his honoured mother Virgin Mary and to the honour of Saint Bernhard, this arch was completed in the year of the Lord in 1444 on the day of Saint Peter Martyr, when nun Mrs Anna was the warden, Mr Olof the man of chores, and Matthias Johansson the master builder.”

In the spring of 1444, the parishioners and the people at the abbey could enjoy their newly decorated church that had a ceiling of mortar arches, six in all, that was probably regarded as heaven itself!  The arch was decorated with paintings on dry plaster in a technique called “al secco.”  They were not only beautiful;  they also had a better fire safety than the previous ceiling of timber that was destroyed after the fire in 1377.

While it is known who mortared the arches, it is unknown who painted them.  All arch paintings, apart from the ones on the most western arch, were later on whitewashed, but are now brought back with colours more tempered.  The décor consist of only geometrical patterns and stylized floral motifs.  There are no narrative scenes on the arches.  Three arches in the nuns’ chancel have a décor that is more provident and simple compared to the other ones, something that may indicate the paintings have been made at a different time period and by different masters.  The arch with the most enriched décor is in the late chancel for laymen.