Háskóli Íslands

Heroic Images in Medieval Icelandic Crafsmanship

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir. 2013. „Heroic Images in Medieval Icelandic Crafsmanship“. XIII Nordic TAG, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, 21.–25. apríl.

Ágrip: The paper deals with heroic legends that were distributed throughout Europe for many centuries in the form of poetry and narratives, mostly in central and western Europe, as well as in the Nordic countries. Even though many of these legends were written down in the thirteenth century, they had circulated before that time in poetry and art, and the most popular heroes are found in various carvings on stone and wood, as well as being woven in tapestries, especially in Sweden and Norway. But what about Icelandic art? As is well known, the Icelanders preserved the old legends in their poetry and literature, but the material seems not to have been prominent in their art. In scholarly debate about pictorial sources of this kind, Icelandic artifacts are not mentioned at all, except for the famous carving on the door from the church at Valþjófsstaður. The questions are, then: Did Icelanders not use the heroic material in their art, like their neighbours did? Or, are there any preserved artifacts with heroic motifs in Iceland, not discussed hitherto, and if so, do they indicate that there may have been more objects made, now lost? These possibilities are explored, and the paper seeks to throw light on a few Icelandic pictures that might be interpreted as referring to heroic legends.

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