Romanesque – Introduction

Romanesque – Introduction

Hi everyone and welcome back to Exploring Art, this is Alessandro. Today we are going to start a new journey discovering a style that had a very important artistic role during the Middle ages: the Romanesque. Romanesque – Introduction

The start Romanesque – Introduction

It’s an art style developed in Europe from about 1000 to the 12th century when the Gothic started to spread. However, in some areas, like in Italy, it lasted longer as well as it’s not really clear when it began since it was a long evolution process. What makes even more complicated to identify the beginning is that the style didn’t developed from a specific city.

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio - Milan - Romanesque
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan

However, how you can probably guess, the term Romanesque comes from the Ancient Roman Art. The name was actually invented in the 19th century by some scholars because the Romanesque Architecture share many features with the Roman architecture. In particular the use of the round arch and barrel vault.

San Isidoro - Spanish Romanesque
San Isidoro, Spain

Romanesque Architecture

Architecture was the visual art on which Romanesque had the biggest impact. In fact, even if there was also a big influence from the Byzantine Art, the style pushed many new features reaching awesome results in the buildings in the whole Europe: churches in particular.

Among them: the beautiful Pisa Cathedral. Tower of Pisa – leaning tower of Pisa

Pisa Cathedral and Tower - Romanesque
Pisa Cathedral and Tower, Italy

Romanesque Painting

The Romanesque painting continued to follow mostly the Byzantine style with religious subjects painted on fresco or wood panels. And we’ll see how, even if they could seem a bit “emotionless”, there are many surprises. Very important were also the illuminated manuscripts and some of them were real masterpieces.

Crucifix Master Guglielmo - Italian Romanesque
Crucifix Master Guglielmo, Sarzana, Italy

Romanesque Sculpture Romanesque – Introduction

Sculpture was mostly used combined to architecture. So, we have a lot of examples of bas-reliefs inside the churches of pictorial and biblical subjects. Many even a bit scary, but on purpose.

Life-size statues are rare, and the few of them created were made of stucco or plaster or wood. One reason more for their small number. On the other hand, were common reliquaries, altar frontals and other sculptures made with precious metals and used inside the churches to show their power and wealth.

So there is a lot to talk about. This was just a short introduction, but in the next episodes we’ll go deeper discovering the beauty and secrets of this style. Please subscribe to the youtube channel if you haven’t done it yet and check the social medias for more pics and contents. Ciao!

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