Viking art: Urnes Style in a Forja Fontenla axe
Viking art, also known commonly as Norse art, is a term widely accepted for the art of Scandinavia and Viking settlements further afield—particularly in the British Isles and Iceland—during the Viking Age of the 8th-11th centuries CE. Viking art has many design elements in common with Celtic, Germanic, the later Romanesque and Eastern European art, sharing many influences with each of these traditions.
The art of the Viking Age is organised into a loose sequence of stylistic phases which, despite significant overlap in style and chronology, may be defined and distinguished on account both of formal design elements and of recurring compositions and motifs:
- Oseberg Style
- Borre Style
- Jellinge Style
- Mammen Style
- Ringerike Style
- Urnes Style
Unsurprisingly, these stylistic phases appear in their purest form in Scandinavia itself; elsewhere in the Viking world, notable admixtures from external cultures and influences frequently appear. In the British Isles, for example, art historians identify distinct, 'Insular' versions of Scandinavian motifs, often directly alongside 'pure' Viking decoration.
Late Urnes Style
The mid-Urnes Style would stay popular side-by-side with the late Urnes style of the runemaster Öpir. He is famous for a style in which the animals are extremely thin and make circular patterns in open compositions. This style was not unique to Öpir and Sweden, but it also appears on a plank from Bølstad and on a chair from Trondheim, Norway.