The Study Collection

The days of the art museums

The University’s study collection consists in large part of a number of important donations, which the University received from 1830 onwards. During this period an art museum in Stockholm was discussed (the National Museum to be) and also in Uppsala the idea of an art museum was evoked. Johan Way the University’s master of drawing who wanted to use both art and sculpture in his teaching was the driving force. Another driving force was the fact the students would get to see art in real-life and familiarise themselves with the Masters, who had meant the most to the development of art in the West. At the same time, the University could create a profile as cultural bearer and into the bargain be rewarded with an art museum.

Art museum at Gustavianum

The University library’s relocation from Gustavianum to the newly erected Carolina Rediviva made premises available for the arts and the museum was ready by 1848. However, running a museum did not turn out to be a priority activity for the University.  When the premises at Gustavianum were needed for other purposes, an itinerant existence began for the study collection. With the establishment of the first professor’s chair in Art History in 1918 the collection was closely linked to the Art History Department. When the institution moved to the Senate Building at St Erik’s Square the study collection went with it.

Permanently hanging at Uppsala Castle

Since 1997 the collection has been open to the public at Uppsala castle exposed in narrow columns in two airy rooms on the third floor. Today the study collection consists of European art from the 13th century to the middle of the 19th-century and holds portraits, religious art, landscapes, still lives, genre paintings, as well as history paintings (entrance via the Art Museum).

An elite of cultural carriers

The most important donators of art to Uppsala University’s first art museum belonged to the same elite of cultural carriers who were also involved in the founding of the National Museum in Stockholm.

Baron Adolf Ludvig Stjerneld’s donation in 1835 contains among other things a work depicting the Royal Castle ”Tre Kronor” in the 17th century, attributed to the Dutchman Govert Camphuysen (UU 67). The Castle burned down in 1697 and the painting, which is one of the few reproductions of the building, provides important information on its appearance.

General Major Karl Hård av Segerstad’s donation in 1840 was referred to as ”the beginning of an art museum”. The most important work in this donation is Pieter Aertsen’s “The Meat Stall” (”Slaktarbod”) from 1551 (UU 1). The painting can be said to herald Dutch still life painting which was developed during the 16th century and which combined biblical scenes and worldly motifs.

Professor Johan Henrik Schröder’s donation contains several examples of Italian and North European Renaissance art. Among these can be mentioned an anonymous Flemish master, the Master of the Female Half-Lengths, who succeeded Joachim Patinir. Two works from this 16th century master, among others a landscape with scenes from John the Baptist's life are included in the donation (UU 294).

Later contributions

A later donation, which was incorporated into the art-study collection, is merchant Claes Livijn’s donation from 1938. Above all, this contains Italian and Flemish 17th-century paintings. An important example of Dutch still life painting is ” Kitchen interior with a Woman Scaling Fish”,  (“Köksinteriör”) by Floris van Schooten (UU 797).