Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Culture Study Trip, Day 3: Tuesday: Stockholm

Leaving our tight-quarters on the ship, my group had a hard time finding a bus that could carry all of us to the place where we would buy our unlimited 72-hour bus pass. After accomplishing what seemed impossible with other really determined travelers, we made it to our hotel to drop of our things and make our way to the Drottninghom Royal Palace. In English this place is called “Queen’s Island,” which was so since it was a summer home for a Swedish queen during the 16th century. The palace style was very much Baroque, since it was redone by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and then later his son when a fire destroyed the smaller version of it.  In every room, the viewer saw impressions of what the royal family’s power that they wanted to portray to their supplicants. This is especially evident with the constant use of the queen’s monogram, the one who had the palace resize and decorated. Another major piece of evidence was the room in which the queen used to sit and listen to any petitioners from her court. The whole room was filled from the ceiling to the very walls surrounding us with murals of the queen’s power as regent over her son’s thrown and then also her son’s Godly power as king and his marriage. One must also not forget the constant use of the Swedish lion found in each mural as another representation of the Swedish power.
In another room, one might also find a public bedroom in which the queen rise from the bed, like one of the French kings, and dress before her supplicants. Then she could sit on her bed and also privately talk to the petitioner if she wanted a more private/intimate setting to talk business. This room is actually the last room in which one would see Baroque period decorations since the next generations of queens do come and make there changes here and there to fit more in current styles and tastes. The rest of the palace was mainly lightly decorated and airy. In other words, no more dark rooms filled with intense details and dark colors.  One could even find silk still on the walls with numerous pictures of past kings and queens with very large eyes. It seems though the painter were required to make their regents eyes more so since it is said that those with large, round eyes also have a major characteristic trait of curiosity.
Later we headed next door to the Royal Court Theater that is still being used today by the current Royal family. The people running it had kept it nicely preserved for visitors to see how it previously looked back when it was first made as a Rococo theatre. Backstage there was also the constant use of the very methods that they used back in the day to change scenes and make special effects. Later there was a video of how current and past theater workers use to go about doing plays and what equipment they use to use. All in all, I think anyone backstage might have had a workout planned with all of the work they had to accomplish. Just changing a scene required men to go round and round a wheel to pull back the illusion and replace it with another. And another thing, most Swedish properties were painters who could imitate stone or create illusions in rooms. This was so to not only create balance but also by saying that their painters were so good that they didn’t need to import all those expensive stones or decorations since their painters could just paint an illusion and it could look just as good if not better.
After visiting the theater we walk around the parks, which were currently adding lime trees, to the Chinese Pavilion that was made as a gift to Queen Lovisa Ulrika. We couldn’t go inside since it is only opened during the summer, like most places, but the structure was beautifully done in imitation to Chinese art and themes. There was also a restaurant that is still running and using the same space that was used as a kitchen during Queen Lovisa’s days. 

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