Celtic art

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Celtic art

(kĕl`tĭk, sĕl`–). The earliest clearly Celtic style in art was developed in S Germany and E France by tribal artisans of the mid- to late 5th cent. B.C. With the dispersal of Celtic tribes during the next five centuries, their characteristically sophisticated designs were spread throughout Europe and the British Isles. Although some classical influence was evident in Celtic work, most of the complex, linear, highly ornamented pieces that survive reveal an inspiration of great originality and power. Stylized and fantastic plant and animal forms, as well as strong, geometrical, intertwining patterns, decorated the surfaces of household and ritual vessels, weapons, and body ornaments. The principal materials used in the surviving pieces of metalwork, most numerous of the remains, are gold and bronze. Some painted ceramics and enamel work survive as well from the early period. Frequently, Greek-inspired arabesque motifs were modeled in low relief. Artisans of the British Isles adapted Celtic design in the 3d cent. B.C., producing distinctive, vigorous works that soon owed little to Continental originals. Asymmetrical line engraving gained ascendancy in the 1st cent. B.C. for decorated weaponry and utensils. Two hundred years later Roman influence had effectively overwhelmed Celtic styles, although typical motifs were retained well into the medieval period. Numerous first-rate examples of Celtic craftsmanship may be seen at the British Museum.


See E. M. Jope and P. Jacobsthal, Early Celtic Art (2 vol., 1989); R. and V. Megaw, Celtic Art: From Its Beginnings to the Book of Kells (1989); F. Muller, Art of the Celts, 700 B.C. to A.D. 700 (2009).

References in periodicals archive ?
Celtic culture is ripe with legends and myths that help to entertain and explain the mysteries of life.
THE NATIONAL LEPRECHAUN MUSEUM The National Leprechaun Museum takes visitors deep into Celtic culture to discover what really lies behind tales of leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold.
She explained that her fascination with Celtic culture, landscape and people was sparked during her early education at a private Scottish school in Argentina where pupils wore kilts and were regularly serenaded by the bagpipes.
The six-day festival also features opportunities to learn about Celtic culture through workshops and free taster courses and lectures.
El Castro, the Citadel, sits on the hilltop above the port, where the remains of an ancient Celtic culture can be explored.
Previous work on maritime networks and Atlantic Europe's first written language, Tartessian, led to a shared conclusion that in Atlantic Europe Celtic culture probably evolved from Indo-European during the bronze age.
In his company literature he is described as a devotee of art and history who drew inspiration from the Celtic culture in order to create his maiden collection in 1983.
We enjoyed discussions and arguments on Celtic culture and the languages of Scotland (Gaelic and Lowland Scots).
Irish and Celtic blessings and toast were a large part of the Celtic culture many year ago and are still a celebrated part of the Celtic culture today.
In addition, as Leerssen says, "Ireland is often focused on as the place where the most archaic vestiges of ancient Celtic culture and tradition have lingered longest and have left their best-legible traces" (8-9).
Kirsty, 32, believes interest in spirituality is growing thanks to events such as Scotland's Year of the Homecoming and the fact more Scots are celebrating their Celtic culture and ancient heritage.
In the process, he shows readers how humans arrived in Ireland well after they'd populated the rest of Europe; how the remains of an old Celtic culture doesn't mean that Celts themselves ever settled in Ireland; why there's almost no trace of the Vikings in Irish genes; and how it is that modern Ireland has come to be home for so many people from around the world.