Monday, April 28, 2008

Romanesque Art and Architecture

The Romanesque era is the first since Archaic and Classical Greece to take its name from an artistic style rather than from politics or geography. Romanesque means Roman like. This term was first used describe architecture from the 11th and 12th centuries. This term was first used in the 19th century. Romanesque art was highly influenced by the Christian faith. Architects invented the tympanum, on which the Last Judgment or other prophetic scenes could unfold, as a stern preparation for the mystical experience of entering the church. Inside, visitors were encountered from other biblical scenes. Churches and Cathedrals from this era still remain in Europe. Which proves that not only do these magnificent structures serve their purpose they could possibly withstand the test of time. The style that the Romanesque architects is still be attributed to the churches of today. Many of the churches that are still standing seem very dark and hollow. However during this era the walls were once covered in tapestries and other religious iconography.

Main characteristics of Romanesque architecture are massive quality, thick walls, few windows, round arches, large towers, barrel, and groin vaults. Their architecture was based highly on the round arch, which resembled ancient Roman architecture. Each structure has clearly defined forms and they are frequently of very regular, symmetrical plan so that the overall appearance is one of simplistic, yet amazing. Huge Churches with stone vaults were constructed during this time. These churches housed relief sculptures, relics of saints and were housed in gold, silver and enamel reliquaries. Most Romanesque sculpture was integrated into the church architecture and served structural as well as aesthetic purposes. Therefore, it is difficult to characterize Romanesque sculpture without speaking about church architecture.

A lot of their art was highly impressioned by the crusades and pilgrimages. Distant cultures and people influenced their culture through these pilgrimages. The Romanesque era lasted from about 1000 and lasted until about 1150, by which time it had evolved into Gothic. The Romanesque was at its height between 1075 and 1125 in France, Italy, Britain, and the German lands.

Its monumental forms, especially the sculpture and Frescoes paintings, mostly characterized Romanesque era. There were also several manuscripts and books made at this point as well. Romanesque fresco paintings are rather monumental in scale and bold in coloristic effect. There art had a close resemblance in form to their architecture. The statuary/sculpture that was made had a highly structured effect. It’s rich imagery derived from the heritage of antiquity and of earlier medieval art. Their art had a sense of realism. Much of their art was derived from day to day life with a sense of fantasy and emotion. One instance of Romanesque life depicted in their art is the Bayeux Tapestry. It is believed to show a conquerors version of history. It shows a chronologically sound of preparing for war. Civilians are constructing ships and serving of meals. It is believed to be one of the most true to life Romanesque art works.

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