The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Early Medieval Art from Northern Europe

What is “Viking” art?

The term “Viking” art or “Norse” art refers to the art produced by the peoples of Scandinavia, which includes modern-day Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Much like Anglo-Saxon and Hiberno-Saxon art, Viking art featured the animal style. Early medieval Scandinavians also practiced memorial ship-burials in which important people were buried at sea with their valuable earthly goods. The burial ship from Oseberg, Norway (c. 834) was over seventy-five feet long, and contained the interred bodies of two women, as well the skeletons of around ten horses. The front and back of the ship (the prow and stern) were formed into large spirals and the ship itself is covered in intricate animal carvings, including dragons, which were popular motifs in Viking art.


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