Built around 1350, Birket church is rather younger than many country churches in the area which are typically from the 12th and 13th centuries. Until 1687, it had its own parish priest but it was then annexed to Vesterborg until 1914. After the Reformation it came under the ownership of the Crown but in 1686 was transferred to Pedr Brandt til Pederstrup. The church became independent in 1914.
The church, built of brick on a fieldstone base, consists of a chancel, a nave and a porch. The chancel with its three-sided eastern gable is all that remains of the original brick building from c. 1350. Around 1500, the original nave was replaced by the nave in the Late Gothic style which stands today. The vaulted ceilings of the nave and chancel were added at the same time. The church's exterior is now plastered over and painted yellow.
The wooden bell tower which stands apart from the church near the main entrance to the churchyard is the best preserved example of its kind in Denmark's country churches and one of the finest Medieval timber structures still standing in Denmark and possibly the oldest. Built on the top of an ancient burial mound, it consists of a heavy framework of oak on a fieldstone foundation. The exterior covering of tarred planks has been replaced several times over the years, most recently in 1974.
The church's former altarpiece, a triptych carved by Benedict Dreyer of Lübeck in the early 16th century, is now in the National Museum. It has been replaced by a painting from c. 1800 of Christ's burial attributed to Johan Georg Wahl. The pulpit from the second half of the 18th century has been put together from pieces of various origins, some perhaps from an earlier pulpit. The polygonal Gothic font, as old as the church itself, is in Gotland limestone. Its reliefs depict two birds, an eagle, a cock and a fanciful combination of a lion's body, a horse's head and a human face.
Frescos in the chancelIn 1900, frescos depicting a Gethsemane scene were discovered in the chancel by Jacob Kornerup who restored them in 1910. Jesus is depicted before an altar bearing a chalice containing rice, corn and a whip. The three apostles are shown reading as soldiers in armor typical of the 16th century arrive. A pelican with a halo stands in the centre, reflecting a passage from Revelation.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.