St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. People around the world celebrate this day in different ways, from eating Irish-themed meals to attending parades to listening to traditional Irish music. Another way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to check out masterpieces of Irish art.
Some of the best known Irish art in history is from the medieval period. Medieval Irish art includes a great deal of beautiful metalwork, such as the famous Tara Brooch. This ring-shaped brooch reflects medieval Irish culture through its depiction of animal and abstract motifs. It is crafted in fine filigree with interlace patterns, which is common in medieval Irish art. Remarkably, it is decorated on both the front and back. The Tara Brooch can be viewed today in Ireland, at the National Museum of Ireland.
Another medieval masterpiece from Ireland is an elaborately decorated manuscript called The Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript contains the four Gospels of the Bible’s New Testament and other texts, illustrated with ornate motifs including figures of humans, animals, and mythical beasts, as well as Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colors. The Book of Kells one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures. It can be viewed in Dublin at the Trinity College Library.
Stone High Crosses are also well-known works of medieval Irish art, found at most Irish monastic sites. The 18-foot tall Muiredach’s High Cross is considered the best example of these famed crosses. It has depictions of the Crucifixion and Last Judgement of Jesus Christ centrally located on it, with other Biblical scenes up and down the shaft and panels of interlace on the sides as well. Muiredach’s High Cross can be viewed today in the monastic ruins of Monasterboice, in County Louth, Ireland.
If you have an opportunity to visit Ireland, the Tara Brooch, The Book of Kells, and Muiredach’s High Cross are excellent masterpieces to enjoy. If you are not travelling to the Emerald Isle any time soon, you can still check out Irish art works online through virtual tours.
Art From the Streets is an Austin-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1991 to give transient people a way to develop as artists and to use their creativity to climb out of homelessness. Purchasing artwork supports the artists directly. Donating to our program helps us to offer a free Open Studio for the homeless and at risk.