Ancient art in high crosses


They stand in ancient church yards, in the grounds of ruined monasteries or in some cases, are found in solitary isolated spots, all traces of the places of worship they once adorned long gone. Many are marked by time, and the relentless rain, wind and frost; others appear almost impervious. They all tell stories, the hands of forgotten master craftsmen once carefully carved episodic sequences of narratives onto their stone faces, leaving the viewer to gaze and think; grasp their meaning and consider their message. The magnificent high crosses of Ireland are among the most beautiful and enduring legacies of our Christian past. Hewn from various stone, including sandstone and granite, they also represent a major contribution to the sculptural art of medieval Europe. They are Ireland’s first great public sculptures. The artist will examine as closely as will the art historian and the archaeologist.

The Irish Times