Art of the Picts

The Art of the Picts

Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland

  1. George Henderson
  2. Isabel Henderson
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  • ISBN 9780500289631
  • 28.00 x 21.80 cm
  • Paperback with flaps
  • 256pp
  • 326 Illustrations, 0 in colour
  • First published 2011
‘It is certainly the most important publication on its subject, and is moreover a huge pleasure to read: erudite, engaging, a beautifully written celebration of Pictish art.’ – The Times Literary Supplement
‘The best set of portraits ever made of Pictish art … a benchmark in Pictish studies’– The Antiquaries Journal
‘Fascinating … in depth and intelligent … a beautiful book, and would make a wonderful gift for someone interested in the Picts’ –
‘It is a work of immense and generous scholarship’– History Scotland

Not only is this the most comprehensive survey of Pictish art in recent memory, it is the first scholarly book to address the art-historical aspects of work formerly only treated by archaeologists – and is arguably the most important publication on this subject for over a century.

Drawing upon two lifetimes’ experience in the field, the authors dissect and scrutinize one of the great genuine enigmas of early medieval art: the sculpture and metalwork of the Picts, early medieval inhabitants of north-east Britain.

A masterpiece of scholarship and deduction, the book throws new light onto some of the more intractable problems associated with the Picts – not least the meaning of the supposedly ‘pagan’ symbols.

Through careful comparison and skilful observations, the authors show how the art of the Picts both interacted with the currents of ‘Insular’ art, and – contrary to received wisdom – was produced by a sophisticated society capable of sustaining large-scale art programmes.

In its acute analysis of the function and meaning of Pictish art, this book will be of great value to art historians, archaeologists, those interested in the history of the early Church, and medievalists of all disciplines.

Introduction: The Criticism of Pictish Art: from ‘insular’ to Insular
• 1. Diagnostic Features on Insular Art: A General Review
• 2. Pictish Participation in Insular Art
• 3. The Pictishness of Pictish Art
• 4. Reassessing Pictish Metalwork
• 5. Pictish Figurative Art
• 6. Form and Function of Pictish Sculpture
• 7. Form and Function of Pictish Sculpture II
• 8. Losses