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The Golden Age of Irish Art: The Medieval Achievement, 600-1200

Overview

In the fields of manuscript illumination and luxury metalwork, Medieval Ireland led the world. This flowering of the arts had a religious context, with powerful Irish monasteries producing illuminated Gospels such as the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, as well as a host of vessels, reliquaries, and crosses that includes the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice. The bizarre imagination, minute detail, and decorative invention that made this art seem to be "the work of angels rather than men" is still ...
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Overview

In the fields of manuscript illumination and luxury metalwork, Medieval Ireland led the world. This flowering of the arts had a religious context, with powerful Irish monasteries producing illuminated Gospels such as the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, as well as a host of vessels, reliquaries, and crosses that includes the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice. The bizarre imagination, minute detail, and decorative invention that made this art seem to be "the work of angels rather than men" is still unequaled. But fascinating as it is, most is so scantily documented that it has long been a controversial topic for scholars. The Golden Age of Irish Art is the first serious assessment of the subject since 1945. In the last fifty years, painstaking research has added a wealth of new information and fresh insight, and Peter Harbison, the acknowledged authority on Medieval Irish archaeology, examines the art of the entire period. This up-to-date account, with over 250 illustrations of illuminated manuscripts, metalwork, architecture, and sculpture, is the most lavish and authoritative survey available on the subject.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Highlighting fine examples of early Irish Christian art, Harbison--a professor of archaeology at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, an honorary academic editor of the Royal Irish Academy, and a renowned expert on early Irish art--follows its development from 600 to 1200 C.E. This rich art, filled with pagan swirls and spirals, is insular and distinctly Irish. Chronologically, Harbison leads us through the range of its manifestations in architecture, sculpture, metal work, and illumination. His delightful text is informed and interesting, providing necessary historical and stylistic background. The beautiful color and black-and-white illustrations are large enough to show timeworn details, especially the fascinatingly carved high crosses that changed over the years. A wonderful overview of the period and a delight to the eye and mind, this book is recommended for specialized art or Irish history collections and larger libraries.--Karen Ellis, Baldwin Boettcher Lib., Humble, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
John Russell
In this spacious and unhurried survey of a great phase in European history, Peter Harbison and his publisher have taken their time: margins are large, photographs are searching in black and white, and sumptuous in color. Above all, medieval Ireland looks pristine. The reader has the sensation of walking alone and undisturbed.
The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500019276
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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