• Domenicus Verwilt



Flemish artists, active between 1556-1566. Three famous portraits of Erik XIV are attributed to him.

Erik XIV was the first Swedish prince of the House of Vasa who received proper education. Therefore, Verwilt depicted him in various of roles. The portrait from the 1560s presents Erik as a commander. Baton and sword imply military achievements. The armour is worth noticing. It is a clear indication of Erik’s status as the leader of the army, but it is no longer a medieval, iron, heavy armour. Instead we look at an example of exquisite craftmanship. The next portrait brings out Erik’s royal origin. It was made in 1561 when 28-year-old Erik ascended the throne of Sweden. King’s attire follows modern patterns of European royal fashion with sumptuous fabrics and and jewels. Finally, the third portrait presents Erik with no royal attributes. He is wearing black suit and black headress, which was a popular outfit for 16th century representatives of Renaissance. This way, Erik put himself alongside with Martin Luther and Erasmus of Rotterdam, indisputable humanists. It was not uncanny practice for royals. In the link portrait, Charles V, another famous humanist king, lacks conspicous signs of royal power. The main message is conveyed with his costume.


Domenicus Verwilt, Erik XIV, 1560s, Nationalmuseum, photographer Erik Cornelius


Domenicus Verwilt, Erik XIV, Nationalmuseum


Domenicus Verwilt, Erik XIV, 1561, Nationalmuseum