Celtic Art is one of the oldest forms of art that we still have a record off. It offers an intriguing look into the past, specifically into the histories of Ireland and Scotland which are two modern countries that were historically inhabited by the people known as the Celts, and many modern inhabitants of both Ireland and Scotland have descended from those societies as well. Tracing the history of Celtic Art can help us better understand the ebbs and flows of entire civilizations that existed thousands of years before our own.
If we were to talk about the origins of Celtic art forms, these origins can be traced back to about 1000 BCE during the European Iron Age. While art from these geographic locations exists from the earlier Bronze Age as well, the societies that inhabited these locations were different so this art is not counted as Celtic Art. One can also notice key differences between art made by, for example, the Tumulus society of the Bronze Age and art made by the Celtic civilization that arose during the Iron Age.
That being said, while Celtic Art did not exist in the Bronze Age, it was certainly influenced by it. This is because of the fact that trade between the region where the Celts existed and the Bosphorus as well as the Mediterranean saw increased contact during the Bronze Age. This allowed artistic traditions to be swapped to some extent, and the traditions of the societies that existed prior to the Celts in the Upper Danube, which is where they finally settled, also played an important role in influencing the traditions that came to be known as Celtic Art in modern nomenclature.
The very nature of iron had a definite impact on Celtic artistic traditions. Iron was a very different metal from bronze, and it could be shaped in far different ways than its somewhat more brittle predecessor. The geometric shapes that came to be known as iconic aspects of Celtic culture could not have been formed with bronze, but iron allowed such shapes to be made and so a lot of Celtic Art was focused around arm bands and other accessories that were made out of iron. It is important to remember that Celtic Art was a purely aesthetic venture, one that did not add any practicality to the items that were being manufactured. The fact of the matter is that the Celts created this art simply because they liked the way it looked, which just goes to show that humans have historically been the kind of people that favored aesthetics as much as possible.
The first forms of Celtic Art were heavily influenced by the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe, what is now called Austria. This also shows that the advent of this art form was one of the first signs of globalism, as the world had started to become more interconnected in the Iron Age.