16th century

The 16th century is the period we in Sweden call the Renaissance, when art and applied art were heavily influenced by the newly rediscovered idiom and motifs of antiquity.

With the advent of printing, knowledge of classical architecture and artistic idiom could be disseminated to craftsmen. Medieval trade routes had already made it possible to import goods from beyond Europe. When the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama reached India in 1497, he opened up a direct trade route to Europe. From Lisbon, luxury goods such as furnishings, silks, china and spices were distributed to every corner of Europe.

Trendsetting Italy

The princely courts and rich burghers ordered exclusive artifacts and furnishings in expensive materials, all decorated in the antique style. Italy set the trend and established the fashion for the Renaissance lifestyle.

These fashions and trends reached Sweden too. As in the rest of Europe, royalty and nobility imported goods from distant lands.


Moveable textiles

For instance, the court of the Vasa kings imported furnishings and textiles. The textiles included tapestries, one of the luxuries of the time. For members of the royal family moving between different castles, it made sense to be able to take the textiles with them, since these were often the most exclusive part of the furnishings. During the Vasa era in Sweden, much of the furniture was wall-mounted, so the textiles provided a moveable feature. They were hung on the walls and served as insulation, while their bright colours and golden threads were aesthetically pleasing.



Nationalmuseum Design
@ Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Sergels torg, Stockholm 

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