In 1628, the King of Sweden launched what was to be the country’s greatest warship. Top-heavy and light on ballast, the ship sank just 1300 meters from where she’d started. Preserved by the harbor’s mud, the Vasa was lifted from the seabed in the 1950’s and set up in its own museum. Magnificently beautiful and astonishingly well-preserved, the Vasa is glorious to see in person.
When I visited Sweden in the summer of 2012, I went to the Vasa Museum and took photos. The lighting, as you might imagine, is kept very low. For reasons I don’t quite understand, the Vasa, which is uniformly deep, golden brown, is set up in a building where the walls are painted a slightly lighter, golden brown. These conditions made photography very difficult. Even when I got a clear photo with no blurring from the low light and my lack of tripod, the brown-on-brown effect made details hard to pick out from the background. I found, when developing these photos digitally, that they looked far better in black-and-white than they did in color. Other photos looked just fine in color, particularly when the museum’s lighting created a slightly more colorful background. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the photos and definitely put a visit to the Vasa Museum on your agenda if you head to Stockholm.
These reproductions are painted in what are thought to be the historically accurate colors for the decorations on the back of the ship. It was a tasteless, tasteless time.
Portions of the sails were also preserved.