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Mark Kettlewell Art Online

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Menhirs at Dawn

Menhirs At Dawn by Mark Kettlewell 2007

Menhirs are the old standing stones erected by the Celts before the Roman invasion and many were erected as far back as 3000 BC.  No-one truly knows the purpose  of these strange and haunting edifices. Archaeologists believe they may have been used as temples, celestial observatories or even a way to measure the time of day. Others believe they have a more mystic purpose connected with ancient Druidic rituals. Whatever the reason, standing stones are a common feature of the southern Britain and northern European landscape and have a strange appeal to many people. They speak to me mainly because of their aesthetics and how organically they mingle  with the wild and rugged landscapes where they are found. 

It may interest people to know that in many cases the rock used for these monuments was often conveyed to the site from hundreds of miles away. The rock used to erect Stonehenge, the most famous group of standing stones in the British Isles, was transported from outcrops as far away as South Wales. Archaeologists agree that having no wheeled conveyances during the period, construction must have been a logistical nightmare for the builders..

The scene I painted above is a rendering of the sun just appearing over the horizon and at the point where shafts of light caress the tops of the stones. I love the cool freshness of the dawn and the way the sun, at this time, can highlight the starkness of these strange monuments.

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