‘Ireland and the Art of Stone Carving in Early Medieval Europe’

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Professor Roger Stalley, Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin, gave the Dalrymple Lectures this year in the Sir Charles Wilson Building. His four lectures focused on different aspects of the art of stone carving of the Irish High Crosses. The abstracts from each of his lectures is provided below:

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Ireland and the art of stone carving in early medieval Europe: The sculptor and his craft

The major crosses of Ireland were remarkable pieces of engineering, something that has an important bearing on their function and the nature of their patronage. This talk will for the first time investigate how they were made, tracking progress from quarry to finished product, a journey involving quarrying techniques, tools, transport, cranes and scaffolds.

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Ireland and the art of stone carving in early medieval Europe: In search of artistic identity

Sharp distinctions in style are to be found amongst the sculptors, reflecting individual personalities and diverse experience; this talk will show that major craftsmen were clearly individuals of status, men like the so-called ‘Muiredach Master’, pre-eminent amongst the sculptors of early medieval Europe.

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Ireland and the art of stone carving in early medieval Europe: In search of meaning

The crosses were major investments, but who commissioned them and why? The panels of figure sculpture offer some clues, but the iconographies can be difficult to interpret and their meanings likewise obscure. This talk will offer a critique of the past approaches and suggest some new avenues of investigation.

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Ireland and the art of stone carving in early medieval Europe: Ireland and Europe

In the nineteenth century, the high crosses were regarded as spectacular proof of the civilization of ancient Ireland; but were they an indigenous development or dependent on models introduced from abroad from Late Antiquity or Carolingian Europe? This talk will demonstrate that, when it comes to artistic expression, the importance of the local environment must never be underestimated.

Our next lecture will be given by Cathy Swift on ‘Early Irish Migrations to Scotland – Difficulties, Debates and DNA’. This will take place on Monday, 28th November  in Room 208, 2 University Gardens at 3.00pm. All welcome!

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