Victoria Charles, Klaus H. Carl
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In art history, the term Romanesque art distinguishes the period between the beginning of the eleventh and the end of the twelfth century. This era showed a great diversity of regional schools each with their own unique style. In architecture as well as in sculpture, Romanesque art is marked by raw forms. Through its rich iconography and captivating text, this work reclaims the importance of this art which is today often overshadowed by the later Gothic style.
century. Partial wood decoration with traces of polychromy, h: 73 cm. Madonna and Child, Notre-Dame Church, Orcival (France), c. 1170. Walnut, silver, vermeil, h: 74 cm. Enthroned Virgin with Child, 1130-1140. Birch wood, painting and glass, h: 102.9 cm. The Cloisters, New York (United States). 148 AC Roman ART 4C.qxp 11/03/2008 11:38 AM Page 149 full belly. The reliefs of the remaining Seven Deadly Sins – Pride, Extravagance, Greed, and Lust – were intended to warn people against these
also used as wall decorations. Elements of Byzantine style reached Central Europe mainly in the course of the Crusades. Christ Nailed to the Cross and Twelve Apostles, Westphalia (Germany), c. 1170-1180. Since the population was largely still illiterate, biblical scenes were depicted in series. In a series of images in the form of monumental frescos, stories were told in order to enlighten the faithful about the Holy Scripture. These huge series of frescos, of which only a few lasted through
in the eleventh century, which were illuminated in the first quarter of the thirteenth century by the master of the Berthold missal. Romanesque illumination is almost exclusively monastic. The Announcement to the Shepherds, Book of Common Prayer of Rheims (Missale Remenense), 1285-1297. Parchment, 23.3 x 16.2 cm. Paris (France). 177 AC Roman ART 4C.qxp 10/03/2008 11:51 AM Page 178 Books were the “monastic culture’s” most important instruments. This is why the design character of the
spiritual texts from the gospel. The creation of individual forms and ornaments was as varied as the layout of the floor plans, where arches, pillars and columns in particular could be considered. It was already indicated that alongside the capital, whose Antique ornamentation had been imitated with more or less understanding, a separate Romanesque capital form developed in the form of the cushion-cap capital, whose smoothly carved, semi-circular surfaces where probably painted. Later, they were
columns carrying the upper walls of the central naves. The buildings of the Rhineland reflect the light-hearted sense of beauty and love of grandeur of a carefree people. The defiant rise of the massive walls between the towers of the western façade in Westphalia corresponds to their taste for the simple and practical, which aimed only to fulfil a particular need without placing great emphasis on decorative forms, but ever more on the buildings’ stability by means of effective construction.