Viking artalso known commonly as Norse artis a term widely accepted for the art of Scandinavian Norsemen and Viking settlements further afield—particularly in the British Isles and Iceland —during the Viking Age of the 8thth centuries CE. Viking art has many design elements in common with CelticGermanicthe later Romanesque and Eastern European art, sharing many influences with each of these traditions. Generally speaking, the current knowledge of Viking art relies heavily upon more durable objects of metal and stone ; woodboneivory and textiles are more rarely preserved; human skinwhich historical sources indicate was often elaborately tattooed [ citation needed ]is nowhere extant and is unlikely to have survived.
The artistic record therefore, as it has survived to the present day, remains significantly incomplete. Ongoing archaeological excavation and opportunistic finds, of course, may improve this situation in the future, as indeed they have in the recent past.
Viking art is usually divided into a sequence of roughly chronological styles, although outside Scandinavia itself local influences are often strong, and the development of styles can be less clear.
The Vikings' regional origins lay in Scandinavia, the northernmost peninsula of continental Europe, while the term 'Viking' likely derived from their own term for coastal raiding—the activity by which many neighbouring cultures became acquainted with the inhabitants of the region. Viking raiders attacked wealthy targets on the north-western coasts of Europe from the late 8th until the midth century CE. Pre-Christian traders and sea raiders, the Vikings first enter recorded history with their attack on the Christian monastic community on Lindisfarne Island in The Vikings initially employed their longships to invade and attack European coasts, harbours and river settlements on a seasonal basis.
Subsequently, Viking activities diversified to include trading voyages to the east, west and south of their Scandinavian homelands, with repeated and regular voyages following river systems east into Russia and the Black and Caspian Sea regions, and west to the coastlines of the British IslesIceland and Greenland. Evidence exists for Vikings reaching Newfoundland well before the later voyages of Christopher Columbus came to the New World.
Trading and merchant activities were accompanied by settlement and colonisation in many of these territories.
Wood was undoubtedly the primary material of choice for Viking artists, being relatively easy to carve, inexpensive and abundant in northern Europe. The importance of wood as an artistic medium is underscored by chance survivals of wood artistry at the very beginning and end of the Viking period, namely, the Oseberg ship-burial carvings of the early 9th century and the carved decoration of the Urnes Stave Church from the 12th century. As summarised by James Graham-Campbell : "These remarkable survivals allow us to form at least an impression of what we are missing from original corpus of Viking art, although wooden fragments and small-scale carvings in other materials such as antler, amber and walrus ivory provide further hints.
The same is inevitably true of the textile arts, although weaving and embroidery were clearly well-developed crafts. With the exception of the Gotlandic picture stones prevalent in Sweden early in the Viking period, stone carving was apparently not practiced elsewhere in Scandinavia until the midth century and the creation of the royal monuments at Jelling in Denmark.
Subsequently, and likely influenced by the spread of Christianity, the use of carved stone for permanent memorials became more prevalent.
Beyond the discontinuous artifactual records of wood and stone, the reconstructed history of Viking art to date relies most on the study of decoration of ornamental metalwork from a great variety of sources. Jewellery was worn by both men and women, though of different types. Married women fastened their overdresses near the shoulder with matching pairs of large brooches. Modern scholars often call them "tortoise brooches" because of their domed shape.
The shapes and styles of women's paired brooches varied regionally, but many used openwork. Women often strung metal chains or strings of beads between the brooches, or suspended ornaments from the bottom of the brooches. Men wore rings on their fingers, arms and necks, and held their cloaks closed with penannular broochesoften with extravagantly long pins. Their weapons were often richly decorated on areas such as sword hilts.Researchers believe that the Vikings most likely wore tattoos and that they adorned their bodies with the same patterns and motifs used on weapons, jewelry and other items.
Numerous discoveries of beautifully decorated objects testify that the Vikings had a great interested in art. The Viking Age is normally categorized into six main periodic art styles: Oseberg style, Borre style, Jelling style, Mammen style, Ringerike style and Urnes style. The Oseberg style is named after the Oseberg ship grave c.
Including the ship, the site also contained numerous richly decorated wooden objects, tapestries and hundreds of other artifacts. A characteristic motif is the so-called gripping beast. The gripping beast is what clearly distinguishes the early Viking art from the styles that preceded it.
The chief features of the gripping beast are the paws that grip the borders around it, neighboring beasts or parts of its own body. The Borre style is a Viking age animal ornamentation which was first named after artifacts from a burial mound near the village of Borre in Vestfold, Norway. The style evolved at the latest about AD and was still used in the late 10th century. This art style was popular in areas settled by the Vikings. It was mainly employed to decorate jewelry, belt-fittings and woodwork.
It frequently featured mask-head like animal heads, pretzel shaped bodies, and gripping paws. Plaited knots and ring-chain patterns are also common. The ridges of designs in metalwork are often nicked to imitate the filigree wire used on the finest pieces. The Jelling style is a phase of Scandinavian animal art during the 10th century. The style is characterized by markedly stylized and often band-shaped bodies of animals. The Mammen style is a phase of Scandinavian animal art during the late 10th century and the early 11th century.
The style is named after finds from a chamber tomb in Mammen on Jutland, Denmark. The finds included a silver engraved ax of which one side shows a markedly stylized animal with long appendages braided along the body. There are animal representations that can have a more realistic style, like one of the lions on the Jelling stones. During this style there was an introduction of plant motifs.
The Ringerike style is an animal style from the late 10th century and the 11th century, which evolved out of the earlier Mammen style. It has received its name from a group of runestones with animal and plant motifs in the Ringerike district north of Oslo. The most common motifs are lions, birds, band-shaped animals and spirals. Some elements appear for the first time in Scandinavian art, such as different types of crosses, palmettes and pretzel-shaped nooses that tie together two motifs.
Most of the motifs have counterparts in Anglo-Saxon art and Ottonian art. The Urnes style was the last phase of Scandinavian animal art during the second half of the 11th century and in the early 12th century. The Urnes style is named after the northern gate of the Urnes stave church in Norway, but most objects in the style are runestones in Uppland, Sweden, which is why some scholars prefer to call it the Runestone style. The style is characterized by slim and stylized animals that are interwoven into tight patterns.
Categories: ArtCultureHistoryVikings. Reblogged this on Something to Ponder About and commented: These art forms are refined skilled and attractive and need recognition for the innovative design for the times.
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Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Oseberg Style The Oseberg style is named after the Oseberg ship grave c.Ente Prana Priyane - Dr. Blesson Memana New song - For the Church [HD]
Article continues Photo: Skandinaujo A characteristic motif is the so-called gripping beast.Viking Animal Carving c. Introduction to Viking Art. Vikings were Scandinavian seafaring warriors - pagan Danish, Norwegian and Swedish - who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe during the period CE. In the East, Vikings expanded into the heart of Russia where they left their name - ' Rus ' meaning redafter the red-haired Norsemen.
Unfortunately, their raids were responsible for the decline of monastic art in Irelandespecially illuminated manuscripts. They also raided the Seine estuary in France and the Iberian peninsular.
Vikings also spread into Russia, giving it their name "Rus" read-hairedand as far as Byzantium where they formed the Varangian Bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperor. See also: History of Art Timeline. As might be expected among a race of aggressive outdoor warriors, Viking art tends to be more functional and symbolic, rather than contemplative or expressive. And since Vikings were often moving from place to place, most Norse art consists of portable artworkssuch as decorated drinking horns, body armour, pagan icons, paddles, and a wide range of objects used in daily life.
That said, their wood carving and sculpture displays great inventiveness and level of skill, and Viking artists have left a rich legacy of extravagant animal ornament. Their metalworking was also of a high quality and both influenced and was influenced by Celtic metalwork art. Early Viking art focused on jewellery and weapons, while later craftsmen are known for their silver-work and runestones.
Norse art also survives in the form of small-scale ivory carving as well as works in amber, jet, bone, walrus ivory and, occasionally, wood. Moving away from the visual arts, the Viking interest in riddles and rhyme led to a rich tradition of poetry and story-tellingas celebrated in Old Norse epic sagas.
But perhaps the greatest Viking achievement is the longshipwhose ingenuity and effectiveness have raised it almost to an art form. Fast, light, maneuverable, and flexible, the longship could be quickly beached or launched, rowed by oarsmen or sailed in any wind.
Not exactly fine art, perhaps, but fine craftsmanship. In summary, the imaginativeness and intricacy of Viking arts and crafts contrasts strongly with the other image of the pillaging barbarian.
Norse craftsmen excelled in woodwork and metalwork, engraving and adorning brooches, weapons, implements, and ship timbers with a huge variety of animal forms and intricate patterns. There was hardly a material to hand which Viking craftsmen had not stopped to beautify or enhance.During the Viking age, Norse people apparently did not create art for art's sake. There are few examples of decorated objects having no purpose other than to display their ornamentation.
Instead, Norse art is characterized by extraordinary ornamentation of everyday objects. Even the humblest objects are elaborately and unrestrainedly decorated. Silver beads and wires were welded to the silver surface to create the brooch shown to the left.
The axehead shown to the right was decorated by cutting groves into the iron axehead, then pounding a contrasting silver wire into the groves to create the design. Something as mundane as an ear scraper a replica based on a historic find is shown is decorated with a head and a hand on its backside below. Many everyday objects were decorated in ways that required high levels of skill on the part of the artist. The historical carved wooden object shown to the right was probably a medallion worn around the neck for personal adornment.
During the Norse era, various styles of artistic decoration were developed. These styles were used for jewelry as well as a wide variety of other decorative items, such as the decorative mounts shown to the left and below. It is customary to divide the sequence of Norse art into six successive styles. A particular style lasted for a period of time, but was not immediately replaced by a new style.
Rather, the two styles coexisted for a period of time. It's remarkable how quickly new styles overspread the entire Norse sphere of influence. Clearly, communications between the various parts of the Viking world was excellent, and new artistic styles were carried from place to place and were readily adopted.
The six commonly recognized styles are named for the modern geographic area where important archaeological finds have been made. They are: Oseberg : This style was used during the first three-quarters of the 9 th century.
The "gripping beast" motif, first seen in pre-Norse art, is fully developed, and the designs are arranged in a carpet-pattern manner. The sketch to the right shows a detail from a carving on the Oseberg ship. Borre : This style was used from the last quarter of the 9 th century to the mid-point of the 10 th.
It features mask-head like animal heads, pretzel shaped bodies, and gripping paws. While other styles of Norse art show exterior influences, the Borre style appears to have been fully created in the Norse home lands.
Samples have been found that were produced in Iceland, England, and Russia, showing the extent to which the style spread across the Norse dominions. The sketch shows a detail from a woman's brooch. Jelling : This style first appeared at the beginning of the 10 th century and continued through the third quarter of the 10 th century.Long and wavy S-shaped tendrils.
Loosely scrolled tendril terminals. Spirals as tendril terminals. Pellets intersecting ribbons. Concave indents.
Head in profile. Round or almond-shaped eye. Spiral hip joints. When Gorm the Old died, his son, Harald Bluetooth, became king of Denmark and acquired power over Norway a few years later. The joint ruler of the empire just south of the Dannevirke, Otto II, was keen on Christianising the Norse regions, by a violent military crusade if necessary.
To communicate this point, he erected the Greater Jelling Stone, with its runic inscription that states that Harald united all Denmark, and converted the Danes. To further secure his status and control of the kingdom, he built a number of ring fortresses throughout the territory of Denmark, and fortified the Jelling monument site, the royal centre of power.
Otto II then suddenly died, and as his three-year-old son was the only legitimate heir, this left the empire in a state of complete political crisis. This led to Harald regaining control over Hedeby that same year. After his success in England, Olaf returned to Scandinavia, successfully claimed the Norwegian throne and converted the Norwegians to Christianity. Iceland followed suit a few years later, through a somewhat democratic decision at the All-thing, mainly due to its dependence on trade connections with Norway.
After all the inhabitable land in Iceland had been settled, Erik the Red established the first Norse colony on Greenland.
His son Leif Eriksson also known as Leif the Lucky later discovered North America by accident, and attempted to colonise the land, which he called Vinland, but the settlement was ultimately a short and futile endeavour. The animals of the Mammen style are a stylistic continuation of the Jelling-style ribbon animal, though now with a more elaborate and often more naturalistic execution. The style was further inspired by Continental European influences, which may be seen in the introduction of more vegetal elements, such as vines, lobes and spirals.
The interlacing patterns are developed in a less geometric, wavier and more flowing manner, reminiscent of vines. The Christianisation of Scandinavia changed Norse burial customs. After the conversion, the dead were buried with very few artefacts, owing to the new religious beliefs, which rejected the importance of material goods accompanying the dead into the afterlife.She sorted everything out in the limited time we had in Kiruna and her suggestions to fit in as much as we did in three days were all great.
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Viking Age Art Styles
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