THE ART OF THE VIKINGS by Shirley Glubok


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A workmanlike presentation of what the Vikings made--marred on the practical side by a failure to illustrate their greatest creation, the longship, in toto (the two prows represented give no idea of how the ships looked as a whole) and, on the other hand, by a failure to address what makes any of these objects ""art."" Without seeing a longship, one cannot appreciate the Vikings' hardihood and daring (offset to an extent here by the comfortable assurance that ""most Norsemen were peaceful farmers, traders, and craftsmen""); without words to distinguish their vigorous, highly stylized art, it could be any people's choice of decoration. And the fact that most of it consists of brooches and other sculptured ornaments limits its appeal to young people. But, as usual, Glubok has incorporated much mythology and folklore in her text along with explanations of the objects' manufacture and use. On one score, choice of illustrations, the book fares very well indeed; these are not easy objects to picture but here the details are sizable, strongly contrasted, absolutely clear. (One does miss, however, some sense of scale.) It's a nice volume to have around, in short, on the assumption that the objects will have an impact of their own.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Macmillan