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The Iron Age 500 BC – 500 AD The La Tene Celts in Ireland.

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Presentation on theme: "The Iron Age 500 BC – 500 AD The La Tene Celts in Ireland."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Iron Age 500 BC – 500 AD The La Tene Celts in Ireland

2 The order of the Irish Art Section SUN BURNS ICECREAM! Stone Age, Bronze Age Iron Age Don’t forget it!!

3 Celtic Origins The Celtic people who made their way to Ireland, came from an area called La Tene near Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland. More than likely their arrival was a slow and steady assimilation rather than a turbulent invasion. By the 1 st century BC Ireland had a Celtic culture of some depth and substance The La Tene Celts settled into life in Ireland without difficulty and established a structured/hierarchical society with leaders like chieftains and princes. Much later Christian story-telling leads us to believe the Celts had many battles and wars here. The skill of iron-working had been around for a few centuries at this stage. The Celtic people continued heating or smelting iron a natural resources in Ireland at the time and then hammered, forged and shaped it. It was a very strong metal which meant that weapons for hunting and fighting were much improved. Iron may also have been used for large vessels for food.

4 Is this how the Celts looked?!

5 Motifs and designs on stone work and metalwork in the Iron Age The La Tene style that developed in Ireland initially is called Insular La Tene. The style was decorative and repetitive Special emphasis was placed on plant forms such as the honeysuckle, S-scrolls, leaf and vine forms, trumpet ends, and spirals This inspiration largely from nature, lead to abstract and curvilinear patterns. The patterns are said to be symbolic of protective powers or fertility By the 3 rd century BC La Tene art was evident in Ireland

6 The honeysuckle, and a modern motif based on its shape

7 Stonework in the Iron Age A number of stone idols and dressed stones have been found scattered around the Irish countryside that date to the Iron Age The stone idols are visually quite dramatic, while the dressed stones with their carved designs are certainly aesthetically pleasing. The exact function of the Iron Age stonework is not fully clear. They dressed stones may have been boundary markers or the stone idols may have been created by landowners to frighten off strangers approaching their land. Imagine how you would have felt if you came across Boa Island head after dark! Whatever their function these stones demonstrate the artistic skills of the Celtic people at a time when available materials would have been minimal

8 Boa Island Head, Fermanagh, this is the female side of the two- sided figure There is incised zig-zag decoration between the two heads, which may represent hair, and both figures have a band or belt at the base of the torsos Boa Island Head, Fermanagh

9 Stone-idols like this one have been called Janus figures. Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, also of gates, doors, endings and time. He is a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the pastgodgatesdoors Back of the head Image shows the size of the stone head. It rests on a new base

10 Tricephalic head (triple head) Cornleck, Co. Cavan

11 Triple-headed MONSTER!!! From the Marvel comics series

12 Tandragee Idol, Co. Armagh The statuette is only about two feet tall but is powerful, even disturbing. It is a half-length figure, crudely sculpted: the mouth is like an open slot with rounded ends and thick lips. The nose reaches down to the upper lip and on each side of the nose there appears to be a moustache. A close fitting head-dress or helmet with thick rim covers the upper part of the head concealing the eyebrows of the protruding eyes. At the front of the head-dress there are two projections which could be horns, the figure itself appears clothed in a robe with short sleeves, reaching to the elbows: the sleeves seemed to be trimmed with a cuff, perhaps of thick fur. The right hand of the figure grasps the left-hand cuff

13 The Turoe Stone One of the finest examples of the carved stones dating from the Iron Age There are definite similarities between the designs on this stone and the designs on bronze and gold objects from the same period The stone is a domed block of granite, and the decoration is on the top and sides The La Tene decoration consists of spirals, trumpets and a triskele motif, and was planned and executed to have four distinct sides The decoration is created by cutting away the negative space with the design remaining

14 The Castlestrange Stone, Co. Roscommon Another example of a carved stone from the Iron Age period Decoration not as vigorous as the Turoe Stone and has been incised rather than left in relief As with the Turoe Stone we are not sure of the function but more than likely it marked a boundary or was used for ritual purposes

15 Ogham Stones fhfdfdfajfhfdfdfaj The more ancient examples are standing stones, where the script was carved into the edge of the stone. The text of these inscriptions is read beginning from the bottom left-hand side of a stone, continuing upward along the edge, across the top and down the right-hand sidestanding stones Monumental Ogham inscriptions are found in Ireland and Wales, with a few additional specimens found in England and Scotland. They were mainly employed as territorial markers and memorials (grave stones). IrelandWalesEnglandScotland The earliest examples of Ogham Stones dates to the later Iron Age.

16 Worksheet to test your knowledge on Iron Age Stonework! List three stone idol heads from the Iron Age List two dressed stones from the Iron Age Describe two different techniques used by the La Tene Celts to add decoration to the dressed stones Draw both the Turoe Stone and the Castlestrange Stone in detail and label your drawings. Explain your understanding of the term La Tene Answer this question for homework please, “Discuss and evaluate the style of decoration used in the Iron Age. In what way/s was it creative? In what way/s was it simplistic?” 3/4s of a page minimum

17 Art trip! We are going to visit the Castlestrange Stone in Co. Roscommon. It is one of only three dressed stones of its type in Ireland, carved in the La Tene art style. The trip has been arranged for the 20 th Oct. 2011, please get the permission slip signed and bring your wellies!

18 Clay figure project linking art history with practical work Produce a preparatory sheet of ideas for a clay figure. Inspiration can be found in the Iron Age Stone Idols and dressed stones, as well as the figures on Easter Island, the terracotta Chinese soldier-figures etc that we discussed briefly. From this create a preliminary sheet detailing what your figure will look like. Draw the figure in-situ on the preliminary sheet i.e. in a field, a graveyard, or any dramatic outdoor setting you think is suitable. Create a clay figure based on the Stone Idols from the Iron Age. Integrate a sinuous, leaf and vine/honeysuckle-inspired design into your plan for your Idol and Include the cut-away technique or the incision technique when adding detail to your figure.


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