CeLfic Artistic Rebirzth

rom around AD 400 onward, the majority of Celtic artwork was religious in nature or purpose. This period coincides with the end of Roman rule in southern Britain, and the brief reclamation of the island by the Celts. With the legions gone, the resurgence of Celtic kingdoms created a growth in patronage, and the Church provided an even greater support for Celtic artists.

This was also a period of warfare and invasion, but in the wake of conflict came artistic influence. The waves of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes who landed in Britain from the fifth century onward also influenced Celtic artistic styles, bringing their own Germanic styles to those of sub-Roman Britain. For the next four centuries the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon cultures veloped in parallel, and one influenced "'ie other. In Scotland, the Picts and the Scots of Dal Riada were in L an almost constant state of conflict, but the two cultures still influenced each other, as well as their Anglo-Saxon enemies. Similarly, the Irish raiders who plagued western Britain were followed by permanent Irish settlers, who brought their own artistic conceptions to the mainland of Britain.

With Irish, Scots, Pictish, Saxon, and former Roman influences merging with traditional Celtic British

The conversion of the Celts to Christianity marked a watershed in Celtic art, ushering in a new phase of technical excellence, artistic intricacy, and ecclesiastical patronage. Some of the most beautiful metal objects ever created were made by Celtic metalworkers between Al) 400 and 1200. For this reason the early medieval period has been described as an artistic renaissance in the late Celtic world.

Right: Invading Angles and Saxons began to influence the indigenous Celtic art. The Anglo-Saxon Wilton Cross. ad 675-700.

artistic forms, it is hardly surprising that there was a cultural renaissance during this period. Even the Norse raiders of the eighth century onward brought their own cultural influences in the wake of the destruction they wrought on late Celtic Britain.

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