An Introduction to Celtic Art

Celtic artOne of the most remarkable characteristics of an ancient people would be in the artwork that they leave behind. The Celtic people lived in a timeless land that is now called Ireland, and they left behind a wondrous amount of Celtic art for modern-day art lovers to enjoy.

This art has an illustrious history and has had various influences based on outside events and the time period. Here is some more information on the unique contributions that the Celts made to the artistic world:

The Celtic contribution to the artistic world dates back to 1000 B.C.

The first important thing to understand about the art of the Celts is that it dates back to the European Iron Age and arose along with the mass migrations of the people group from the steppes of Southern Russia. The first Celts most definitely brought their unique styles and they had a broad knowledge of iron-making, jewelry art and metal work.

The first distinct style of Celtic artwork was the Hallstatt Culture, which was developed around 800 to 475 B.C. and was characterized by a geometric style with influences based on Mycenaean art and polychrome, unpainted pottery.

The next style of Celtic art was entitled “La Tene”

The next style in the Celtic artistic condition would be the La Tene style, so named because of the nearby village of La Tene by Lake Nechatel in modern-day Switzerland. Many weapons such as spears, swords, spear-heads and shields were made. Brooches, tools and other artifacts have also been found from this time period as well.

La Tene artifacts are particularly noted for their goldsmithery and their curvilinear art mostly devoted to vegetable and foliage motifs.

The Celtic artistic culture underwent a renaissance after the arrival of Christianity.

Finally, the Celtic contribution to art actually underwent a renaissance after the arrival of Christianity. For the most part, the art was devoted to expressions of the Christian faith. This would include the wonderful illuminated gospel manuscripts and the creation of some remarkable free standing sculptures. The great High Crosses of Ireland are one example of this.

Truly words cannot begin to describe how amazing some of the art from the Celtic period is. This is a fascinating time period and is definitely worthy of more study, analysis and reflection.

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