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Some Heroic Motifs in Icelandic Art
University of Iceland.
2017 (English)In: Scripta Islandica: Isländska Sällskapets Årsbok, ISSN 0582-3234, E-ISSN 2001-9416, Vol. 68, p. 11-49Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article deals with heroic legends that were widely known in the Nordic countries and further south in Europe for many centuries. Though many of these legends were first written down in the thirteenth century, they had been circulating for a long time before that time in the form of poetry and their subject-matter was depicted in art; images of the most popular heroes were carved in stone and wood and woven into tapestries, especially in Sweden and Norway. As is well known, the Icelanders preserved the old legends in their poetry and literature, but the motifs seem to have been less prominent in their art. In scholarly debate about pictorial sources of this kind, Icelandic artifacts are barely mentioned, except for the famous carving on the door from the church at Valþjófsstaður. It is therefore reasonable to ask: Did the Icelanders use motifs from the heroic tradition in their visual arts, as their neighbours did? And is it possible that there are some preserved artifacts with heroic motifs in Iceland which have not so far been discussed? These possibilities are explored, and an attempt is made to shed new light on some Icelandic images that are strongly reminiscent of figures or incidents from the heroic legends of past centuries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Isländska sällskapet , 2017. Vol. 68, p. 11-49
Keywords [en]
Old Norse-Icelandic literature, heroic legends, Icelandic art, carvings, manuscripts
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-336104OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-336104DiVA, id: diva2:1168378
Available from: 2017-12-20 Created: 2017-12-20 Last updated: 2017-12-20

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Scripta Islandica: Isländska Sällskapets Årsbok
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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