Historical Viking Art
The Vikings’ design and sculpture was prevalent during the period between the 8th and the 11th centuries. However, this particular art form became influential only in the latter half of the tenth century. In fact, Viking art had become so popular in the European countries by this time that it eventually became an integral part of the native Romanesque Style.
Historical Viking art is best known for its sophisticated, interlacing style of decoration, which resembles the Celtic Art to a great extent. Other characteristic features of ancient Viking art included intricate woodcarving and beautiful personal ornaments made in silver and gold. ‘Great Beast’, the motif of a dragon-like animal, can be seen commonly in most of the historical Viking art works.
The Viking art is broadly categorized into 3 styles -- Jellinge Style, Ringerike Style, and Urnes Style. The Jellinge Style primarily features heavy designs of animal-like creatures and various patterns similar to those of the manuscript illumination from Ireland. The 6.5 ft (2 m) tall standing cross, located in Gosforth Churchyard, Cumberland, is the best existing example of this style.
The Ringerike Style, on the other hand, features intricate, interlacing designs and foliage ornaments. Originated from Norway, this design is best represented by the Great Beast sculpture from Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London and the historical bronze plate from Winchester. These relics are now on display in the Guildhall Museum and the cathedral Library respectively.
The Urnes Style also originated in Norway and is an integral part of the English Christian art forms. The twelfth century Cong’s Cross and the brilliant Irish metal work are great examples of this style of historical Viking art.
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