Statue of Bishop Hans Tausen in Ribe

Distance: 0.11 Km

Johannes Bjerg's statue of the theologian Hans Tausen, 1942.

The theologian Hans Tausen (1494-1561) is one of the absolute leading figures of the Reformation in Denmark. Although supposedly of peasant birth, as a monk at Antvorskov Monastery he was given the opportunity to study theology at various universities, including in Wittenberg, where he made the acquaintance of Martin Luther. Soon he joined his reform movement and took the rebellious ideas home with him to the fatherland. In the showdown with the Catholic Church in Denmark, however, he met considerable opposition (not least when he got married), but after the Reformation in 1536 he increasingly enjoyed general recognition and in 1542 was appointed bishop in Ribe.

On the 400th anniversary of his episcopate, a group of citizens wanted i Ribe to have a statue erected at the cathedral, and with financial support of various kinds they succeeded in getting the sculptor Johannes Bjerg (1886-1955) to oversee the execution of the mighty bronze. The figure alone measures over 3 metres, a ratio which in itself contributes to commanding respect from the viewer. The mature facial expression and the heavy suit, whose vertical folds emphasize the upwardly aspiring nature of the figure, help to cement Hans Tavsen's undisputed position in Danish church history. Here, a man of the church is portrayed as both hero and prophet, a manly champion of the right faith and at the same time an inspired preacher of the Christmas gospel, as we see in the notice in his postil. In his depiction of historical figures, Johannes Bjerg is often more dry and academic than is the case with his less bound assignments, but here the style seems extremely well chosen. 

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Statue of Hans Tavsen | Ribe Photographer: Destination Wadden Sea coast Copyright: Destination Wadden Sea Coast