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Povl Søndergaard, 1953

About the work

This statue on Kirketorvet is a monument to the Danish priest and historian Anders Sørensen Vedel (1542-1616). He was born and raised in Vejle but went to Copenhagen in 1561. Here he obtained a master’s degree at Wittenberg University in 1566. From 1568 he worked as a castle preacher at Copenhagen Castle, and in the early 1570s he translated Saxo’s “Gesta Danorum” from Latin into Danish. “Gesta Danorum” was a semi-fictional chronicle of Danish history until the late 12th century, written in Latin and thus only readable by a few in society. With a Danish version of this, Denmark’s history was made available to many more, although only a minority of Danes could read and write at this time. “Gesta Danorum” is one of the most important and famous works of Danish medieval literature.

The statue of Anders Sørensen Vedel was erected in 1953. It was financed by Det Modewegske Legat and Vejle Municipality, and is in every way a proper statue, which continues the old traditions. A statue is traditionally a monument to a deceased person who has accomplished something special and from which we should learn. This is made clear by the fact that Vedel is exalted on a pedestal, and we must look up on, and look up to, him. The pen he holds in one hand, the book he holds under his arm and the priest’s collar, which tells of his ministry, all emphasize his life’s work and the reason for the honour.

On the plinth under the statue, four symbols describe Anders Sørensen Vedel’s good character traits. The incense burner symbolizes his devotion to God. The flowering herb tells us that Anders Sørensen Vedel was concerned about health. The passage of time is symbolized by the serpent biting its own tail, and the unifying triangle refers to the Christian Trinity.

The statue is made of granite, which is one of the hardest types of stone. The durability of the stone ensures the eternal durability of the memory of Anders Sørensen Vedel and adds immortality to the figure. Technically, the sculpting work is skillful and very carefully done. It is almost a free sculpture, which is extremely difficult to achieve in material as hard as granite.


About the artist

Povl Søndergaard (1905-1989) was a sculptor, and he was born in Ringsted. From the time he was 15 until he was 19, Søndergaard was apprenticed as a stonemason. After Technical School, he continued at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, from 1927–33. He became especially known for the sculpture, Pige der sætter sit hår (Girl Doing Her Hair), which he exhibited at Charlottenborg in 1932. During these years, Søndergaard received several scholarships and travelled to Italy, Greece, France, and Spain. Another major work, Siddende pige (Sitting Girl) from 1932 is on display at Vejle Art Museum.

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