Ancient Celtic Sculpture

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Definition

The sculpture of the ancient Celts between 700 BCE and 400 CE is nothing if not varied as artists across Europe developed their own ideas and borrowed what interested them from neighbouring cultures. Early Celtic stone and wood sculptures focus on the human form, especially heads. Such works usually represent gods and heroic warrior figures but are often abstract with typical facial features being lentoid eyes, a bulbous nose, and swept-back hair. Animals, both real and imagined, were another favourite subject, especially in miniature form in metal to adorn all manner of objects such as cauldrons, chariots, helmet crests, and jugs. Vegetal designs and swirling complex lines added extra decoration to objects and became a feature that stayed with Celtic art as it developed through the medieval period. Celtic art, in general, has enjoyed a tremendous revival from the 19th century CE up to the present day and many of the motifs which are so quintessentially 'Celtic' have their origins in the artworks produced 2,000 years ago.

More about: Ancient Celtic Sculpture

Timeline

  • c. 600 BCE
    The Hirschlanden Warrior, a sandstone representation of a Celtic Warrior from Ludwigsburg, Germany, is made.
  • c. 600 BCE
    The Strettweg Cult Wagon, a miniature bronze Celtic wagon, is made.
  • c. 500 BCE
    The Celtic Pfalzfeld Pillar, a stone four-sided column showing human heads, is made.
  • 450 BCE - 400 BCE
    The 'Prince of Glauberg', a sandstone statue of a Celtic warrior, is made.
  • c. 200 BCE
    The Celtic sandstone Mšecké Žehrovice Head is made.
  • c. 200 BCE
    The ‘Tarasque de Noves’, a Celtic limestone statue of a dog eating a human, is made.
  • c. 100 BCE
    The bronze figure known as the 'God of Bouray', likely a representation of the Celtic Cernunnos, is made.
  • c. 100 BCE
    The granite Turoe Stone from Celtic Galway is made.
  • 50 BCE - 100 CE
    The Stanwick Horse Mask, a bronze decorative mask from Celtic Britain, is made.
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