This monarch reigned for the space of five years, with tolerable credit to himself, but then gave way to the greatest extravagancy of temper, and to the most atrocious barbarities. Among other diabolical whims, he ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire, which order was executed by his officers, guards, and servants.
He is wearing the Danish Order of the Elephant around his neck and on his left knee the Order of the Garter. At his left foot sits his faithful dog on a cushion, and to his right there is a gauntlet and a crested helmet with open visor.
Winged angels are holding crowns over the heads of Prince Christian and the Princess, while between them a third angel is holding two wreaths of leaves encircling the monograms C5 and MS.
The king's right hand is resting on a table, on which can be seen a high-crowned hat, the crown and other regalia. Behind the table is a pedestal, to the left of which one can see in the background the king's son Count Valdemar Christian and his five daughters, all countesses of Schleswig.
Above his head is an angel holding a crown and the initials WC in a wreath of leaves, and above the countesses heads angels with floral wreaths. She is leading a younger woman, PAX, towards the king. Pax has an olive branch in her right hand, and hovering above her head is a dove with an olive branch in its beak.
This triumphal procession is rounded off at the left of the picture by a number of heralds wearing coats of arms on front and back, and holding royal standards representing, from left to right, the German Emperor, Spain, Poland, France, Sweden, Venice, Great Britain, Russia and the Nederlands.
All the figures are standing on a tiled floor, on which, under the king's throne, is an oriental rug. Floating across the sky to the left is FAMA with two trumpets, from one of which hangs a banner with the king's crowned monogram.
Under the canopy are angels with a crowned C4, intertwined with an inscribed scroll: The purpose of this very detailed description is to show that here is a picture with a meticulously staged iconography, a classical theatre scene, in which only the allegorical figures represent movement and action whilst the historical figures assume statuary roles.
The picture is markedly different from all other paintings in van de Venne's oevre. Although he frequently concerned himself with painting historical scenes, these had more the character of everyday events, such as "Prince Moritz and Prince Friedrich Heinrich at the horse market in Valkenburg", or "Frederik V and Elisabeth Stuart with retinue on their way Home from Hunting".
The engraving is not today part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts' Department of Prints and Drawings Collection , but one could imagine that it was known in Copenhagen at that time, and that it was an added reason for the king to commission of van de Venne for his triumphal painting.
The painter's large allegory Fishing for Souls, fromwas probably not exhibited in Denmark, but it was undoubtedly reported that Christian IV had played a distinctive role among the non-Catholic princes on the left bank of the sea of souls. In the year before the war troubles in Holstein, a famous painter in the Hague, van de Venne, remitted by order of the late king two paintings.
Due to the unpropitiousness of the times these were never paid for, in spite of a letter last year instructing that attempts be made to reach agreement with the painter on their acquisition for rix dollars. The king requests Marselis to repeat the offer and to acquire them on his behalf if the painter agrees.
Christian IV was busily occupied during that period, so it is not remarkable that he never got around to paying the painter. His attempt in to push the price down is not surprising, since the subject had lost its topical interest. In the first place the paintings were already in Denmark , and in the second, he could hardly expect a better offer; he would more likely risk having them returned without further ado.
This was not the first time the king had experienced art in the service of self-glorification. As a six-year-old in the s he appeared at his father's side as the last in the series of a total of Danish kings, which his father had commissioned from the Dutchman Hans Knieper.
The series, which consisted of forty tapestries, was woven in in Elsinore for the Long Hall at Kronborg Castle. They must have made an indelible impression on the young heir to the throne and filled him with pride in himself, his lineage and his country's history. Inafter emerging victorious from the Kalmar War, he commissioned a series of tapestries from Karel van Mander II, the cartoons of which were created in Fourteen of the former series are preserved to the present day, but the latter series has disappeared.
The king had his coronation in immortalized in two engravings, both anonymous. One of these shows simultaneously the crowning ceremony in Copenhagen's Cathedral and the procession from the church to the palace; the other shows the cavalcade at the celebration's tilting at the ring.
Another engraving, also anonymous, shows the great pageant in when Hamburg paid tribute to the king and Duke Johan Adolf of Holstein-Gottorp. From this event there is an engraving showing the royal pageant in which the king is seen in the role of Scipio Africanus and the bridegroom as Scipio Asiaticus.
It is signed "Christophorus Swenckius inventor. Crispin de pas delin eat ". The engraving shows King Christian seated on a throne under a canopy on the right hand side of the picture.
The highest statesman of the realm is bearing the royal regalia, and before the king kneels the nobleman about to be knighted.
The rest of the picture is filled with members of the court. The text, which describes the giving of the accolade, is in German and Latin, since the print was intended for distribution in Europe.
In other words, a publication of national history was being planned, from Antiquity, as described in Saxo's Gesta Danorum from c.1st Mother's Day - Special Daughter-in-Law Card.
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