Jonas Lau Markussen

Oseberg Style

 

c. 800 – 875

 

 

 

 

The Anatomy of Viking Art

 

 

Shapes

 

 

Equal sized squat animals:

1. Round eyes.

2. Frond-like terminals (wings, feet etc.)

3. Feet gripping frames and animals.

 

Interplay of geometric and zoomorphic patterns:

4. Limbs segmented into ornamental elements.

 

Three main animal types:

5. Birds.

– Pictured in profile.

– Beaked.

6. Mask A.

– Pictured facing forward.

– Protruding fronds from the head.

7. Mask B.

– Pictured facing forward.

– Top of head terminates into fronds.

 

 

Outlines

 

 

Curvy outlines.

 

 

Flow

 

 

A. Pear-shaped loops.

B. Multi-loops.

C. Pretzel-knots.

D. S-shapes.

 

 

Pattern

 

 

  • Tight interlace with little visible background.
  • Mix of high and low relief.
  • Contours.
  • Double-stranded ribbons.
  • Triple-stranded ribbons.

 

 

Composition

 

 

 

  • Absence of compositional main lines.
  • Carpet-like distribution of motifs of equal size and equal compositional importance.
  • Lushness in favor of naturalism: Unconventional design of the animals.
  • Frameworks of oval or rhomb-shaped (B, D).
  • Apparent symmetry in the composition. However, different in the detail (A, B, D).

 

 

Motifs

 

 

A. A pair of intertwined animal ornaments – A type of motif known from ‘Gustafsons Sledge’ from the Oseberg grave.

B. Oval pattern of intertwined animals – A type of motif known from ‘The Baroque Animal-head Posts’ from the Oseberg grave.

C. A chain of intertwined animals – A type of motif known from ‘Shetelig’s Sledge’ from the Oseberg grave.

D. Oval pattern of intertwined animals – A type of motif known from a couple of sledge-poles from the Oseberg grave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Litterature

 

Graham-Campbell, James, 2013. Viking Art.

 

Fuglesang, Signe Horn, 1982. ‘Early Viking Art.’ Acta ad Archaeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia (Series altera in 8°) 125–173.

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The Anatomy of Viking Art

The Anatomy of Viking Art


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