Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Romanesque architecture and art that appeared in the years between 1050 and 1200 reflect certain aspects of the time period they were created in. The architecture of the churches is impressive, massive, and intricate. The art is mostly religious in nature. The period gained its name from certain architectural elements that resembled Roman architecture, such as the barrel and groin vaults that were based on the round arch.

The churches reflect the prosperity of the rise of independent cities with their size, detail, and the amount of labor they required. The fact that the world had not ended in the year 1000 may have also inspired the crazed obsession with church building as a way of saying, “God, I really appreciate that the apocalypse hasn’t happened, so I built this little piece of awesome for you!” An increased number of pilgrimages also helped the rise in church building. The Pilgrims brought the church a lot of income, so the clergy made sure they displayed relics beautifully. The size of these churches was also due to the massive number of people coming to them. (To me, these churches also seem like a symbol of power.)

The art seems to be mostly narrative, which is significant because the population as a whole was largely illiterate. A lot of the religious art pieces not only dazzled people with their beauty but told stories. People seem to have always been visual, and illustrations really do help get a point across. Walls and columns and facades of churches were covered with stone reliefs representing saints and Bible characters and stories as did frescos in some churches. The art of illuminated manuscripts continued. The art also seems to be a product of the religious craze.

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