Romanesque Art And Architecture


An age named for its architecture, the Romanesque era marked the beginning of a Northwestern European building boom the likes of which had not been seen in that area since the fall of Rome. The unifying force of Catholicism, a growing population, nascent civic culture, pilgrimage, and the wealth of the monasteries found expression in large, looming churches and castles that began to dot the landscape.

What characteristics made up the Romanesque? What design elements came from Roman designs? Byzantine? Islamic? How did the designs suit the needs of society and politics at that time? Do you agree with some art historians who argue that it was merely a ‘debased’ form of Roman architecture?

In order to illustrate you analysis, choose a Romanesque building (c.10001150), either secular or religious, from the module or outside, and explain whether it typifies its style (what elements are typically Romanesque). Be specific. Use and define technical vocabulary whenever possible. If it is a secular building, who was the patron? What political function did it fulfill? If it is a church, who was it dedicated to? Was it designed for pilgrims? Was it connected to a monastery, built in the middle of town, or both? Are there any legends or miracles associated with it? Do you think it fulfilled its function? Which style do you prefer: Roman or Romanesque? Why or why not?

If the building is not in the module, please provide an image for the class.

OR if you prefer another form of art besides architecture, you may choose a manuscript illumination, sculpture, reliquary, or something else from that era. Cite the title, artist, date and location as include an image for the class. Be sure to address the following issues: What was the driving force of style for the Romanesque artist? Is your example typical for that era? Why or why not? To what extent was your example influenced by Classical, Byzantine, or Islamic models? Be specific and give examples. Also, what was the function and message of your work and how did it reflect its cultural context?

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