The Romanesque art progression was roughly between the year’s 1000A.D. and 1200 A.D. Characterized by an important stimulation of monumental forms, notably sculpture and fresco paintings, which developed in close association with architectural beautification and exhibited a forceful and often severely structural worth. It’s called Romanesque because that’s what the buildings if any art forms were resembled after, the roman buildings before it fell. The locus of all this was Burgundy France, later when going on quests for a religious purpose started getting popular it branched from Burgundy to Santiago de Compostela. Romanesque simply can mean in the Roman Manner (Stokstad 477).
At first for this region of the world, Europe was very much about feudalism, agriculture was strong, and the wealth came from that. This dependence on the land made it so that networking of largely inherited but constantly shifting allegiances and obligations among lords, Vassals, Peasants (Stokstad 474). Money was around, Christianity was strong, and the pope was reestablished power. The economic motor was the christen church, up springing cathedral towns, networking of small church entities.
The Church had power due to money, but also due to the stability based on fear, putting fear into the public is what brought so many believers.
A huge social fad started to develop, traveling. All of this was to enforce two points of religion, points that give reason for pilgrimages and the crusades (Stokstad 475). Aside from Jerusalem being a holy site, so was Santiago de Compostela. These travels were long and hard, but the motivation behind them was the award of Saints and miracles at the end. There was a discovery of James the apostle who was killed in Judea, a cathedral was architected in his honor. The piers with half columns on all sides, to support the ribbed barrel vaults (there were three different types of vaults to branch from in these times. The aisles are under the buttresses, walls made of granite. His corpse being found generated a lot of anxiousness for Christen military, so they went on this journey to The St. James Cathedral to fight, only to be beaten and sent back to France from Spain. These routs to holy sites grow a tremendous over 100 years, the popularity allowed a large amount of monasteries to be built (Weinstein 2/25/08).
Enthusiastic loyalty to a cause, this also means Crusade. The Pope Urban II sent Armies out to win battles with fleeting benefits. These Crusaders were also against any non Christian believing group, so Jewish folks and Muslims were targeted. The even traveled to Jerusalem, they started the anti-Semitic trend, slaughtering of Jewish people was happening left and right. However with all this vulgarity and chaos something uniformed did occur:
The westerners’ direct encounters with the more sophisticated material culture of the Islamic world and Byzantine Empire created a demand for
goods, from the east. His turn helped stimulate trade and with an increasingly urban society during the 11th and 12th centuries (Stokstad 476).
John of Worcester created an ink on tempera on vellum, titled those who work; those who fight; those who pray-the dream of henry1, Worcester chronicle Worcester. Lots of red was used not just for blood, but for backgrounds of the paintings, it shows the ways of war and sacrifice of the times, with the crusaders the main focus.
If there was a place to be it was Cluny Burgundy, a place that displayed massive stone buildings and conical towers with small windows and tall walls. Dover Castle Is a great example of theses massive stone walls. It was built in the 11h century. Around the same time that the Free Masons were founded (the Free Masons still exist today). More of a great military force came at this time, rowdiness occurred minority villages were being attacked again and again, and this idea of taking back Jerusalem was fresh, which will bring you to Cluny. A Trend happened, “Art that emerges after the dark ages, basically when elites realized the world wasn’t coming to an end, and they said ‘let’s start building’ ” (Weinstein lecture 2/21/08). The largest Christian building the time was Abbey of Cluny, the duke of Aquitaine and count of Auvergne donated the land to build this church. Then it was founded by Benedictine monks who wished to observe closer faithfulness to the Benedictine rule. One distinction was their commitment to offer perpetual prayer, underling rituals and spiritual pursuits over labor and other monastic activities. Unlike before, there now is less concentration on the agriculture and more on
the church. The ones in power decorated as much land as they could with Churches and castles, instead of food and resources.
Above Cluny lies Autun, home of Gislebertus’s Last Judgment. Above the doors to this cathedral is a tympanum letting all know who enter, they have two fates, either they are going to heaven or going to hell.
The over all effect of the tympanum is less consciously balanced than the pattern-filled composition at moissac (which is a town in southwest France). Christ dominates the composition, but surrounding figures are arranged in less regular compartmentalized tiers than seen at moissac. They convey the terrifying urgency of the moment as they swarm around the magisterially detached Christ (Stokstad 498).
The scene was for motivation to those who have sinned and sinned again, to go through the doors and be saved. To scare them to live a good life, obey, and do unto others, again it goes back to that fear stabilizing the town’s people, now the churches people.
The church was the political, religious and social tree for the Romanesque times; they used art and intellect as activism in their practices. The Church and elites felt space, and felt the need to fill it. It was beneficial to the community in the labor aspects, the amount of work, and royal qualities to these buildings and sculptures and paintings give the region a root of pride.
• Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History third edition. New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2005.
• Weinstein, Richard. Art and Culture two Lecture. Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT. 21, 25 February 2008.