Thursday, April 29, 2010

Romanesque Art and Society

The Romanesque period was dark. Much of the artwork reflected the grim beliefs of the culture at that time. With a huge outburst of new building projects happening which produced many houses and churches, feudalism became dominant. The mindset of many people at that time was that if a person was born poor, that is the way God intended it and in that condition they will stay. You can imagine the impact this mindset had on society. During this time, there were also big changes happening in religion. All these things impacted the way art was created. Often, religious scenes were depicted; the figures of the characters created in the statues, paintings, sculptures, etc. had unrealistic proportions; however, I think this could be because artists of the time were focused on what the art represented not just making it perfectly. It seems as if it often had a specific purpose. The story lines of many sculptures that decorated many of the churches had scenes of judgement or tragedy. Of course, this does not apply to every piece, but it was common. The architecture also reflected the mindset of the time and seems to have a heaviness to it. Romanesque architecture looks clunky and thick. Often it had flying buttresses and pointed arches. Basically, many monumental stone structures were designed and built displaying the Romanesque style. To be honest, I do not like this period in art. It depresses me. I do believe the architecture of this time, however, is one thing that led to the beautiful Gothic cathedrals that come about later. Those are much more enjoyable to study in my opinion. Overall, feudalism and other suppressive events taking place in society at that time could very likely be what led to the creation of Romanesque depressing art and architecture.

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