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Glasgow, United Kingdom

Early medieval sculpture in Scotland and Ireland

Language: English Studies in English
Subject area: arts
University website: www.gla.ac.uk
Scotland
Scotland (; Scots: [ˈskɔtlənd]; Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] ( listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Sculpture
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded, or cast.
Sculpture
The Magi of Egypt looked round in every quarter for phenomena that might produce astonishment among their countrymen, and induce them to believe that they dwelt in a land which overflowed with the testimonies and presence of a divine power. Among others the statue of Memnon, erected over his tomb near Thebes, is recorded by many authors. Memnon is said to have been the son of Aurora, the Goddess of the morning; and his statue is related to have had the peculiar faculty of uttering a melodious sound every morning when touched by the first beams of day, as if to salute his mother; and every night at sunset to have imparted another sound, low and mournful, as lamenting the departure of the day. This prodigy is spoken of by Tacitus, Strabo, Juvenal and Philostratus. The statue uttered these sounds, while perfect; and, when it was mutilated by human violence, or by a convulsion of nature, it still retained the property with which it had been originally endowed. Modern travellers, for the same phenomenon has still been observed, have asserted that it does not owe its existence to any prodigy, but to a property of the granite, of which the statue or its pedestal is formed, which, being hollow, is found in various parts of the world to exhibit this quality. It has therefore been suggested, that the priests, having ascertained its peculiarity, expressly formed the statue of that material, for the purpose of impressing on it a supernatural character, and thus being enabled to extend their influence with a credulous people.
William Godwin, Lives of the Necromancers (1835), p. 23.
Sculpture
The men who ushered in the Dark Ages were men like Theodoric and Cassiodorus, who were intent on restoring the cities, preserving the statues, and transcribing the classics. Their adoration of the ancient world was matched only by their inability to understand it, for by the time that they were born, classical culture was already dead. They were the first of the great medievals and began to build a new civilization in an attempt to restore the old.
R. H. C. Davis A History of Medieval Europe from Constantine to Saint Louis (London: Longman, 1970) p. 53.
Sculpture
So stands the statue that enchants the world,
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast,
The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.
James Thomson, The Seasons, Summer (1727), line 1,346.
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