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The Art of the Picts: Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland
"The Art of the Picts: Sculpture and metalwork in early medieval Scotland by George Henderson and Isabel Henderson will be welcomed and read end to end by everyone interested in the Picts. It is certainly the most important publication on its subject, and is moreover a huge pleasure to read: erudite, engaging, a beautifully written celebration of Pictish art. It is exactly what Pictish studies need as a stimulus to move forward, and just the book to bring the subject to a wider audience." Anna Ritchie, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
Synopses & Reviews
The sculpture and metalwork of the Picts form one of the great cnigmas of early medieval art. Marginalized and dismissed for many years by art historians as inchoate and provincial, the large surviving Pictish corpus of cross-slabs, incised stones, and metalwork remained until recently the territory of archaeologists and those bewitched by the mysterious, unfathomable symbols found in so much of the art.
Now, drawing upon art historical research and a lifetime of experience, George and Isabel Henderson show how the art of the Picts interacted with the currents of "Insular" art, and was produced by a sophisticated society capable of sustaining large-scale art programs. A masterpiece of scholarship and deduction, the book is illustrated with some 300 photographs and newly commissioned line drawings and maps. Throughout, the authors give strong consideration to the formal qualities and the iconography of the works, illuminating some of the more intractable problems associated with the Picts — not least the meaning of the supposedly "pagan" symbols.
With its acute analysis of Insular art and questioning of the function and meaning of Pictish art, this book will be of interest to art historians, archaeologists, and medievalists of all disciplines, and is arguably the most important publication on this subject in over a century.
"This rare and thoughtful look at Pictish art is recommended." Library Journal
A sustained art-historical analysis of the work of the Picts, perhaps the least well-known of the Celtic peoples, who occupied north-eastern Scotland between the 6th and 9th centuries. The only real traces of their society are stone cross slabs and some silverwork, all engraved with symbols.
"A major study of the art of the Picts." --Library Journal
Drawing on their extensive research and expertise, renowned historians George and Isabel Henderson illuminate one of the great enigmas of medieval art: the unique metalwork and sculpture of the Picts. Tribal Celtic-speaking warriors and farmers in what is now Scotland, the Picts were one of the major peoples of early medieval Britain, but their culture and their beautiful art have puzzled historians for centuries.
George and Isabel Henderson's acute analysis reveals an art form that both interacted with the currents of "Insular" art and was produced by a sophisticated society capable of sustaining large-scale art programs. The illustrations include specially commissioned drawings that help one understand the mysterious symbols found in the art.
Examines the stone sculptures and metalwork of the Picts, reassessing their importance and interpreting the symbols and their significance.
About the Author
George Henderson is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Art at the University of Cambridge.Isabel Henderson is widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading authorities on the Picts and their culture.
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