||INTRODUCTION: The term Romanesque refers to a style that was "in the Roman
manner." The architecture of the 11th and 12th century copied the same solid masaonry walls, rounded arches, and the masonry vaults used by Roman.
11 Characteristics that make
"Romanesque" what it is:
- “Romanesque” is
the first international style since the Roman Empire.
among cities for the largest churches, which continues in the Gothic
period via a “quest for height.”
- Masonry (stone)
the preferred medium. Craft of concrete essentially lost in this
period. Rejection of wooden structures or structural elements.
- East end of
church the focus for liturgical services. West end for the entrance to
- Church portals
as “billboards” for scripture or elements of faith.
plans. Nave and transept at right angles to one another. Church as a
metaphor for heaven.
- Elevation of
churches based on basilican forms, but with the nave higher than the
articulated by repetitive series of moldings. Heavy masonry forms seem
lighter with applied decoration.
- Bays divide
the nave into compartments
arches the norm.
division of the elevation continues from the earlier periods.
France and Northern Spain
Introduction - The uniqueness of Romanesque churches was the result of a
synthesis of builders working with individual sites, the purpose of the
construction, the building materials, the labor force the was used, the
builders' abilities and knowledge, and the desires of the project patrons.
Architecture - The basic for was basilica plan with key variations: masonry
vaulting, the addition of ribs, masonry buttresses, and the intruduction of the
Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques, France, (fig. 15-2 & 15-3 ),
mid 11th-12th century AD
Abbey Church of Cluny, Burgundy, France, 1088-1130 AD
Abbey Church of Notre-Dame, Fontenay, France, 1139-47 AD
||Architectural Sculpture - Carved portal art was a significant change in
Romanesque art. The earliest images, represent a combination of biblical
narratives, folklore, history, and Christian symbolism. By the end of the
period, the most common themes were scenes of Christ in Majesty and the Last
South Portal and Porch, Priory Church of Saint-Pierre, Moissac,
Toulouse, France. c.1115-30
West portal, Cathedral of Saint-Lazare, Autun. c.1120-35/40
||Wall Painting - It was during the Romanesque period, that church mosaics were
replaced by wall paintings.
Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Poitou, France. c.1100
Christ in Majesty, apse painting from Church of San Clemente, Spain.
Books - The number of books that were produced increased dramatically between
the 11th and 12th centuries. The majority were produced in monastic scriptoriums
and varied in their size and embellishment. The lectionary became one of the
most popular books.
||England and Northern France
Architecture - The British used masonry architecture in new and innovative
forms. They experimented with stone vaulting as well as stone walls to surround
the church complexes.
Castle-monastery-cathedral complex, Durham, England. c.1075-1100's
Church of Saint-Etienne, Normandy, France. Begun 1064.
Bayeux Tapestry - The Bayeux Tapestry is a wall hanging that depicts the events
of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo, the
half brother of William the Conqueror. The work represents a major political
document and historical record.
Bishop Odo Blessing The Feast, section 47-48, Bayeux Tapestry,
Messengers Signal the Appearance of a Comet, panel 32, section 20,
Bayeux Tapestry, 1066-82
||The Holy Roman Empire, Ancient Rome and Romanesque Italy
Introduction - Though politically divided, Italy experienced economic growth
during the 11th century. Port cities such as Pisa, Genoa, and Venice developed a
thriving Mediterranean trade. In 1063, Pisa was victorious over the Muslims and
began the construction of a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Church of Sant'Ambrogia, Milan, Italy. begun 1080
Cathedral Complex, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy. begun 1063
Church of San Clemente, Rome. c.1120-30