Viking Art : A Critique

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Viking Art : A Critique

James Graham-Campbell’s Viking Art is an illustrated study of Viking art from the Scandinavian world from AD 800 to around AD 1100. Graham-Campbell chose not to focus on one particular style or one specific location, but instead paints a vivid picture of Viking art all over the Scandinavian world and how it changed and was adapted in various time periods of the Viking Age. The study explores the art styles of Oseberg c. 775- c. 875, Borre c.850- c. 950, Jellinge c. 900 - c. 975, Mammen c. 960’s - c. 1000/1025, Ringerike c. 1000 - c. 1075, and Urnes c. 1050 - c. 1125 (Graham-Campbell 2013). The study takes a broad approach and covers a wide range of artistic means including grave markers, carved wooden boats,
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The Borre style c. 850 - c. 950 is the next period covered and it’s name is derived from a pair of decorative mounts from another ship burial in Vestfold, Norway. In this style, Graham-Campbell explains how it is defined by gripping beasts that were depicted on various artefacts from this period. This period is also the first time that Viking art is scene outside of the Scandinavian world. Overlapping with the Borre style, the Jelling style c. 900 - c. 975 is defined by its S-shaped animals in profile with ribbon bodies that were found on a silver cup that was found in a royal burial mound in Jellinge, Denmark. The Mammen style c. 960’s - c. 1000/1025 is a change of pace from the styles that came before it. Animal motifs are still prominent in this style, but other themes like depictions of human masks and naturalistic tendrils first make an appearance. The Mammen style gets its name from iron axe head that is decorated in the style that was found in a late tenth-century grave in Denmark. The Ringerike style c. 1000 - c. 1075, found mostly great runestones and shipe vanes, is mainly characterized by the use of “Great Beasts” and a vertical orientation. The final style that is covered in the study is the Urnes style c. 1050 - c. 1125. In this final style, long-tangled zoomorphic beings are the prominent theme seen
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