RAM Vikings – Art styles

I’ve subsequently taken a really great class on the different Viking Age art styles, through the SCA – but there was also a really neat display at the Danish Viking Exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM).  Today’s blog post will have some of the photos from that display.

They had the different art styles outlined time-line style:

  • A mural illustrating different art styles in Scandinavia throughout the Viking Age

    A mural illustrating different art styles in Scandinavia throughout the Viking Age

    c. 750 – 850 – Gripping Beasts – “In the 9th century the main motif was the gripping beast. Sinuous animal forms and beasts gripping borders, the neck of nearby beasts, other creatures, or other parts of its body are the main features of this style.”

  • c. 850 – 950 – Borre Style – “The late  9th to the late 10th (century) Borre style takes its name from mounts recovered from a ship grave at Borre, Norway. This style embraces geometric patterns and knots, but maintains the beasts, now having distinct triangular heads, cat-like faces with circular eyes,  and protruding ears.”
  • c. 900 – 950 – Jelling Style – “The stylized S-shaped animals of the 10th century Jelling style are often intertwined, with profiled heads, spiral hips and pigtails. The Borre and Jelling styles overlap and occasionally both are used on the same object.”
  • c. 940 – 1000 – Mammen Style – “The Mammen style closely resembles the Jelling style with creatures shown in profile but it features a wider range of realistic animals including horses, lions, and birds. The Mammen tyle was prominent in the last half of the 10th century and shows the influence of Christian missionaries on Viking design. The name comes from the decoration on an axe head from a wealthy burial at Mammen, Denmark, but the most famous example is the decoration on Harald Bluetooth’s great rune stone.”
  • A mural illustrating different art styles in Scandinavia throughout the Viking Age

    A mural illustrating different art styles in Scandinavia throughout the Viking Age

    c. 1000 – 1050 – Ringerike Style – “Taking its name from a district north of Oslo, Norway, the Ringerike style is heavily detailed with a central motif – usually an animal surrounded by ornamental leaves. Stylized animals and plants as well as ornate patterns are hallmarks of the Ringerike style. This style prevailed in the first half of the 11th century.”

  • c. 1000 – 1050 – Urnes Style – “The Urnes style marked the swan song of Viking animal art style. It appeared in the middle of the 11th century and prevails well into the 12th century. The style has its name from carved wooden panels in a stave church in Urnes, Norway and has a three-dimensionality and lightness that distinguishes it from earlier animal ornamentation. The style is asymmetric, and often has a single, main motif that fills the entire surface. Slender greyhound-like creatures with almond-shaped eyes fight serpents in dynamic, swirling patterns.

(with all of these, you can click the photo to see the full size version)

Which is your favourite style?

Let me know in the comment section below!

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2 comments on “RAM Vikings – Art styles

  1. Urnes style for me!

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