Research Group for Medieval Philology
The Research Group Presents

The Development of Art Styles and Technology During The Late Viking Age. An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Process of Artistic Change

Rebeca Franco Valle presents her PhD project on Late Viking Age art.

Viking Age Art
Rebeca Franco Valle

Main content

Animal art and naturistic decoration in artefacts of the Viking Age are key features in the crafts of this period and provide the foundations for the characterization of artistic styles. The style classification is established through formal analysis, based in visual comparison of motifs and composition of the decoration rendered in artefacts. The foundations for the Viking Age ornament schedule were laid in the late nineteenth century, though it was in 1966 when the systematic characterization for the subject was stablished. But regardless of the frequency with which the animal style development is used as dating in historical studies, it has not been in the focus of studies during the last decades. The classic Viking Age style development is not a linear sequence. Some styles overlap in time and geographical distribution. Furthermore, styles such as Mammen and Ringerike style involve a breakage with the former productions that not only affects representational issues but also crafting techniques and iconographies. It has also been noted that the artefacts that can be linked to this styles are fewer than the predecessors Jellinge and Borre. While this could be related with the mass casting of bronze objects deposited in graves, few examples of cast bronze can be related with Mammen style. On the other hand, it seems that during the 10th century there is a growing interest in objects carved in metal and bone, and monumental commemorative stones. The disappearance of cast brooches and ornaments seems to be linked with a change in fashion reflected in the burial customs. Thus, there is a co-relation between craft technology and style that might reflect cultural choices affecting artefacts. By discussing changes in style besides technology and cultural changes affecting Scandinavia, I will aim to stablish to what extent these are interdependent. 

Rebeca Franco Valle is a PhD candidate at AHKR.