New Publication: ‘Urnes Stave Church and Its Global Romanesque Connections’, edited by Kirk Ambrose, Griffin Murray and Margrete Syrstad Andås

This book situates the art and architecture of the stave church of Urnes within a global perspective and aims to reinvigorate scholarly interest and debate in one of the world’s most important churches.

Urnes is the oldest and best known of the Norwegian stave churches. Despite its rich sculptural program, complex building history, fine medieval furnishings, and UNESCO World Heritage Site status, Urnes has attracted scant scholarly attention beyond Scandinavia. Broadly speaking, the church has been seen to exemplify Nordic traditions, a view manifest in the frequent use of “Urnes style” to designate the final phase of Viking art. While in no way denying or diminishing the importance of local or regional traditions, this book examines Urnes from a global perspective, considering how its art and architecture engaged international developments from across Europe, the Mediterranean, and Central Asia. In adopting this alternative approach, the articles collected in this volume offer the most current research on Urnes, published in English to reach a broad audience. The aim is to reinvigorate academic interest and debate in not only what is one of the most important churches in the world, but also in the rich cultural heritage of Northern Europe.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments – Contributors and Editors

Kirk Ambrose, Margrete Syrstad Andås, and Griffin Murray

List of Illustrations – The Plates

Part One: Situating Urnes

Chapter 1 Urnes Stave Church: A Monument Frozen in Time?
Øystein Ekroll
Chapter 2 Urnes: Some Current Research Issues
Leif Ank er
Chapter 3 The Landscape of Urnes: Settlement, Communication, and Resources in the Viking and Early Middle Ages
Birgit Maixner

Part Two: The Eleventh-Century Church

Chapter 4 The Decoration of Buildings in the North in the Late Viking Age: A Tale of Bilingualism, Code-Switching, and Diversity?
Margrete Syrstad Andås
Chapter 4A Appendix: Alphabetical List of Fragments from Eleventh-Century. Decorated Buildings in the North
Margrete Syrstad Andås
Chapter 5 The European Significance of Urnes: An Insular Perspective on Urnes and the Urnes Style
Griffin Murray
Chapter 6 “Who is this King of Glory?”: The Religious and Political Context of the Urnes Portal and West Gable
Margrete Syrstad Andås

Part 3: The Twelfth-Century Church

Chapter 7 Soft Architecture: Textiles in the Urnes Stave Church
Ingrid Lunnan Nødseth
Chapter 8 Trueing the Capitals at Urnes
Kirk Ambrose
Chapter 9 Norse Encounters with the Mediterranean and Near Eastern Worlds in the Capitals of Urnes
Kjartan Hauglid
Chapter 10 Plants, Beasts, and a Barefoot Cleric
Elizabeth den Hartog
Chapter 11 Monstrosity, Transformation and Conversion: The Program of the Urnes Capitals in Its European Context
Thomas E . A . Dale


More Info


Published by rachelmcarlisle

Rachel M. Carlisle is an art historian specialized in the art of northern Europe (c. 1400-1600). She holds a PhD from Florida State University (2022) and a Master of Arts degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2014). Her current research interests include materiality of late medieval and early modern objects, transalpine exchanges, patronage and collecting practices, the reception of antiquity during the early modern period, and development of print technologies.

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