Bronze Age art of Northern Europe
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Bronze Age European Art

horseman with raised spear chasing antlered elk
Valmonica, Italy (ca. 2000 BC?)

Bronze Age artists kept on carving rock art all across Europe, using it to show the new horses and wagons, weapons and plows brought by the Indo-Europeans.

boat with many oars
Boat (Tanum, Sweden, ca. 1700 BC)

Further north, Scandinavian artists carved their boats as well as their horses and plows and weapons. Abstract patterns of rectangles, circles and dots continued to be popular alongside these scenes of power and daily life.

two men fighting with axes
Men fighting with axes (Tanum, Sweden, ca. 1000 BC)

Although artists carved a lot of fertility figurines and pretty women in the Stone Age, they didn't make any in the European Bronze Age. Instead there are many scenes of weapons and fighting, which were not present in the Stone Age.

gold bowl with complicated decorations
Eberswalde bowl (Central Europe,
ca. 900 BC, now in Russia)
short cape made of gold
Mold gold cape (Britain, ca. 1800 BC),
now in the British Museum

Perhaps in order to attract and pay off followers to fight in their wars, chiefs collected and distributed complicated and beautiful gold bowls and jewelry, like this big gold bowl from Germany or this gold cape from Britain.

Learn by doing: painting rock art
More about Iron Age European art

Bibliography and further reading about early European art:

More about Northern Europe
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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