Celtic Art Defined

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“Celtic art” is a term that historians use to describe the various styles of art produced by the Celts.

The Celtic culture was originally established in the central and western parts of Europe during the Iron Age, from about the 7th century BC until the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar in 58-50 BC. The Celts lived across Europe before the Roman Empire conquered most of their lands.

Tribal communities were spread out across different regions with each community having its own unique artistic style.

Celtic art often included intricate patterns, knot work and interlace motifs. These artistic forms reflect an early love of nature and pagan religious beliefs.

TODAY’S POST: I am pleased to welcome guest author and illustrator, Stephanie Hans to my blog today. She has kindly provided me with some beautiful images from her new book, “Celtic Weaving: A Contemporary Guide to Ancient Woven Patterns”. I have written about this book previously here . So please join me in welcoming Stephanie Hans!

Hi there! My name is Stephanie Hans, and I’ve been weaving for many years now, both professionally as well as for pleasure. A few years ago I decided to combine my love for celtic design with my passion for

Celtic Art: Celtic art is a broad term that describes a number of artistic styles and traditions, which can be found across Europe, although is most often associated with the British Isles. In some cases, it can also be linked to similar styles of art found in other parts of western Europe, especially Iberia and Italy.

The art was produced between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Medieval period, during which time Ancient Britons created jewellery and other decorative objects from gold. This style of art was very influential in the spread of Christianity throughout Britain, as a lot of these pieces were used to decorate Christian shrines and monuments.

The name Celtic comes from the Greek Keltoi, applied by the Greeks to all foreign peoples living to the north of Greece. The name is related to the Greek word kelos, meaning “ancient” or “premodern.”**


Celtic art developed in Britain, Ireland and France during the Iron Age. It began as a fusion of two different artistic styles: the La Tène style originating from Central Europe and the Pictish style originating in Northern Britain. It flourished from about 600 BC until its eventual replacement by Romano-British art following the Roman conquest of Great Britain.

The La Tène style is named after a site in Switzerland where a famous collection of 4th century BC objects was found in 1857. Later objects, found elsewhere in Europe and dating from 300 to 100 BC have been attributed to this culture and it is also commonly known as ‘Celtic’ art. In fact, many regional styles existed within this general style category which are now often difficult to distinguish from each other as there was no characteristic ‘Celtic’ form until 200-100 BC.

The Pictish style is named after the people who inhabited northern Scotland before the Roman invasion. Although they left few surviving artifacts, their style is distinctive

The Celts were a diverse group of tribes, each with its own art style and culture. Celtic artwork was developed in Britain and Ireland from the Iron Age until the Middle Ages. It was created from locally available materials such as wood, bronze, bone and stone.

Tribal art styles included both abstract patterns and figurative representations. The Celts created many intricate works of art that were used for decoration on jewellery, weapons and shields. These objects were often decorated using complex interlacing patterns which were created using wire and zoomorphic patterns, which portrayed animals such as horses and bulls. Various animal designs were used to symbolise different clans.

Artwork was also created in wood, which was a material used in everyday life by the Celts because it is abundant in the British Isles due to the climate there. Wood was typically carved into bowls, plates and cups or painted with geometric designs.

Apart from this more typical Celtic artwork, large stone structures have been attributed to the Celts in England such as those found at Stonehenge and Avebury Henge.*

Celtic art is the visual arts and crafts of the Celts. The Celts lived in a wide geographical area, stretching from Ireland in the west to Turkey in the east; from Spain in the north to England in the south. They were known as skilled metal-workers, producing fine gold jewellery and intricately worked torcs and brooches. They also created impressive weapons, such as swords with Latin inscriptions.

Towards the end of their time as a great culture (c. 500 BC) they began to create large stone sculptures. These were originally found only around sites of worship, but later they were taken down and used as raw materials for other buildings.

Terracotta sculptures are also frequently found depicting both daily life and the myths of their gods and goddesses.

Celtic art is particularly noted for its use of symbols, some of which can be seen on this page

Celtic art is art from the Iron Age in Europe, produced from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century AD, broadly corresponding to what is known as the La Tene period in Ireland and Britain. However, there are some examples of art showing Celtic influence that date much earlier than this period (see en:Celtid art).

The name “Celtic” is derived from the Greek Κέλτικος (Keltoikos), a term used by classical authors to describe peoples living beyond the Roman Empire. The Romans knew them as Galli, a term that may derive ultimately from a Mediterranean-coastal people called the Κελτοί (Keltoi) whom they first encountered in Gaul; hence also Galatia, an area in central Turkey where they were said to have originated. Celtic has been applied to the art of this period based on its decorative style and works typical of the time and place produced, rather than its racial affiliation.

Another commonly used term is La Tène culture; this was the widespread civilisation of Gaul between 500BC and 50BC. The term “La Tène” comes from lake Neuchatel in Switzerland where a fine collection

In Ireland surviving examples of Celtic art are mostly illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and carvings on stone. The greatest collection of medieval Irish manuscripts is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. These include The Book of Kells (c. 800) and The Book of Durrow (c. 650).

The Book of Kells contains the four Gospels and was long held to have been produced by monks at the monastery of Iona , founded by Columba in 563, but it is now generally accepted that it was produced in Ireland.

Tara Brooch – An Early Christian gold brooch from the 6th or early 7th century, on display in the National Museum of Ireland .

Celtic script from the 6th century found at Rosemarkie, Scotland .

Part of the inscription on a stone built into the wall of a church near Inverurie. The inscription commemorates two brothers named Lagmann and Lagman who were killed by Saracens somewhere in Spain during the reign of King Ronald mac Donald (1093 – 1107).

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