Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Romanesque Period Takes its Name from the Art and Architecture of the Period.

Romanesque art and architecture were a direct reflection of the society of the period. This period in history has derived its very name from the art and architecture rather than the typical geographical or political association. Romanesque basically means Roman-like. The periods architecture was made up of barrel and groin vault construction and was moving mostly away from the timber roofs of the middle ages. Because of the diverse and growing population people began a more trade oriented culture. With the growing trade industry a town and its people began to prosper and feudalism began to fade.
Many towns and the previous vassals began to gain their independence from the prior Lords. They were gaining rights and privileges than were allowed during the feudalism period. As people gained their independence they began to have more control of their own lives. This was the period in which people began traveling from town to town on a "pilgrimage" to witness and experience old religious relics, and icons, and even body parts of the religious leaders who had become saints. The church leaders of the period took advantage of the fact that very few people could read so they did not read the Bible or obtain an education. Thus, the church would influence the congregations of people to believe they needed to live a life as close to Christ as possible. Along with this came the need to experience and view the old relics as way to lessen the godly retribution and damnation for eternity into and uncomfortable Hell. People felt they could become closer to godliness.
These "pilgrimages" actually spurred additional trade and business for a town and its citizens. With these ever increasing numbers of people visiting the towns and churches they realized the structure needed to grow to increase capacities. These capacity crowds came bearing tithes for the church to further grow their influence of society through Biblical teachings. So the churches grew with longer naives and sides and added second story worship areas. The exteriors of churches also became more important as the leader wanted to illustrate the biblical teachings. To do this artists were commissioned to incorporate relief stone sculpture on the exterior of the structure; and elaborate bronze church doors to grab the attention of the townspeople. This was part of the church leaders approach to attract the masses inside to hear the teachings of the Bible and further collect more money for their pursuit of the biggest and best for quite some time into the future.

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