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Early Christian Stone Crosses in Ireland A.D 500-800 Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

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Presentation on theme: "Early Christian Stone Crosses in Ireland A.D 500-800 Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Christian Stone Crosses in Ireland A.D Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

2 Early Christian Stone Crosses Early Christian Stone Crosses in Ireland A.D Monks carved and decorated stone crosses at many monastic sites. Earliest examples were just stone slabs and later the stones have arms with a circle surrounding the arms Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

3 The Duvillaun Slab in County Donegal has a design on its two faces. On one side is a Greek cross inscribed in a circle which is very similar to the one from Aglish in County Kerry. On the other side is a rather primitive representation of the Crucifixion, notice how the artist has introduced the form of the spiral into his design. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

4 The Fahan Mura Slab in County Donegal is a further development in stone crosses, notice how the surface area of the slab which surrounds the form of the cross has been cut back, allowing the cross to stand out in relief. The form of a Greek cross, this time with a stem has been carved in a powerfully decorative manner on both sides. The decoration of both crosses takes the form of vigorously interwoven strap work on both faces, also the border of the slab has been clearly marked and on one side of the cross are two very simple figures on either side of the main stem. Notice also how the carver has left a bump on both sides of the slab which seems to continue the horizontal arms beyond the frame. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

5 The Carndonagh Cross has something of the vigour which we have already seen in the Fahan Mura Slab, indeed it has been suggested that it came from the same workshop. The shape of six birds, two groups of three, have been blended with the strapwork decoration. The whimsical mixture of the figurative and the purely abstract is something we continually encounter in celtic design. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

6 Cross of Ahenny Both crosses are made out of sandstone and are probably the earliest group of ringed high crosses, the North and South Cross at Ahenny in Co Tipperary. Both crosses are skilfully carved with intricate geometrical Celtic designs. Like the North Cross, this cross dates to the ninth century. The head and shaft of the cross are dominated by decorative motifs that are highly reminiscent of processional crosses of the period. The edges of the crosses carry rope mouldings in high relief, similar to metalworking bindings found on the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch. The South Cross, east face pictured Left stands at 3.90 metres high. high-cross-reproductions.aspx?article=817071df-2b9b e0-3d24dae28a45 high-cross-reproductions.aspx?article=817071df-2b9b e0-3d24dae28a45 High Period of Christian Irish Culture 7 th to the 9 th C Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

7 The North Cross is one of two high crosses from Ahenny, Co. Tipperary. It is representative of the early series of cross manufacture, which relies on abstract non-figurative art, and is probably based on crosses of wood or metal. It can perhaps be dated to the ninth century and not the 8 th century as originally thought. The Ahenny crosses belong to a group of crosses characterized by their artistic links to Hiberno- Saxon art, their unique conical capstones and the division of the wheel arch into two vertical panels. Decorated with interlace, ‘nail headed’ bosses, spiral decoration and animal heads, the carving on the North Cross is the finest of its group. abe1-49e7-941d-70072e7d8a02 abe1-49e7-941d-70072e7d8a02 Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

8 The Cross of Moone: In Moone, Co Kildare stands the second tallest high cross in Ireland. The shape of which is quite unique, and consists of three parts, the upper part and base were discovered in the graveyard of the abbey in 1835 and re-erected as a complete cross, but in 1893 the middle section of the shaft was discovered and the cross was finally reconstructed to its original size, now standing at 17.5 feet the cross has been erected inside the ruins of the medieval church. The theme of the cross is the help of God, how God came to their assistance in their hour of need, Daniel in the lions pit, the three children in the fiery furnace and the miracle of the loaves and fishes amongst the scenes depicted. The monastery is believed to have been founded by St Palladius in the 5th century and dedicated to St Columcille in the 6th century, and the cross constructed from granite during the 8th Century. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

9 The 12 Apostles are carved on the base of the west side, below the crucifixion The Temptation of St Anthony and a six-headed beast on the North base East face showing Daniel in the Lions pit and the sacrifice of Isaac. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

10 Castledermot: A monastery was founded here by St Dermot, there is a Round Tower and two High Crosses, the North and South Cross, both of which are granite, plus the base of a third Cross. The North Cross On the left is the north cross west face, showing Adam and Eve at the centre of the head with David with a harp to the left and the Sacrifice of Isaac to the right. Daniel in the lion's den is shown at the top of the shaft with below that the temptation of St Anthony and at the bottom of the shaft are three figures. The western side of the base is decorated with some wonderful spirals. Run the mouse over to see the Crucifixion scene and the twelve apostles on the east face. Right is a detail from thr west face of Adam and Eve in the garden left and Daniel in the Lion's Den right. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

11 The South Cross: The South Cross pictured left,, bears scenes from the bible on the west face, including the Crucifixion at the centre of the head, the sacrifice of Isaac to the right and David with harp to the left, Daniel in the Lion's Den appears in the bottom panel of the shaft and above that is the temptation of St Anthony, Adam and Eve are in the panel above that and the top panel bears a raven bringing bread to St Paul and St Anthony. Right is a detail showing the Crucifixion, on the left is a detail of the base west face showing some animals.. Both crosses were erected in the 9th century. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

12 Clonmacnois: The Monastery at Clonmacnois, Co Offally, was founded in the 6th century by St Ciaran,. Amongst the many remains at Clonmacnois are two complete High Crosses plus the remains of another. The most famous being, the Cross of the Scriptures, also known as King Flann's Cross. Pictured left is the west face of the Cross of the Scriptures, showing from the bottom panel up, Soldiers guarding the tomb of Christ, the arrest of Christ, Flagellation and in the centre of the ring the crucifixion. this cross is decorated with figure sculpture on all four sides. At the bottom of the shaft on the east face is an inscription that has now become almost impossible to see, OR DO COLMAN DORRO.....CROSSA AR RIG FL.ND, A prayer for Colman who had the cross erected on King Flann. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

13 Monasterboice: Monasterboice County Louth, contains two of the finest High Crosses in Ireland, both of these Crosses are made of sandstone and date to around the 9th century. The site also has a round tower, which is in excellent condition. The Cross of Muiredach, west face pictured on the right, gets its name from an inscription at the base of the west face, saying it was erected by Muiredach. The cross is around 5.2 metres high. The theme of the cross is Christ the King, Lord of the Earth. Below is a detail from the bottom of the west face showing Christ being mocked by roman soldiers. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

14 The Cross of Muiredach: west face pictured on the right, gets its name from an inscription at the base of the west face, saying it was erected by Muiredach. The cross is around 5.2 metres high. The theme of the cross is Christ the King, Lord of the Earth. Below is a detail from the bottom of the west face showing Christ being mocked by roman soldiers The Inscription at the base of the west side, seen between two cats playing reads,OR DO MUIREDACH LASNDERNAD.....RO, A prayer for Muiredach who had the cross erected. Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)

15 Professional Development Service for Teachers The PDST is funded by the Department of Education and Skills under the National Development Plan Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.) Cultural & Environmental Education National Co-ordinator Conor Harrison Special thanks to Tony Morrissey for researching and compiling the information, images and video for this Power Point :

16 Reference: The following websites were accessed in the making of this PowerPoint: Irish Art History Section: Courtesy of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (P.D.S.T.)


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