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Romanesque Art

Medieval life and Times

Romanesque Art History
The Western Empire (Europe) was dominated by warring factions and their quest for conquest and power. The Roman Empire was spit into two sections - the Eastern and Western part of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire fell when the German Visigoths, led by Alaric, sacked Rome. The Western part of the Empire disintegrated but the Eastern, or Byzantium Empire, stayed in tact. Early Medieval Art reflect the differences between the development of the Catholic religion in the west and the Byzantium Empire of the east.

The Catholic religion became divided in the Great Schism. The art period up to 1000AD is referred to as Pre-Romanesque art and after that date as Romanesque Art  

Romanesque Art History Overview
The Romanesque art style of the Dark Ages or early Medieval Religious Art was created largely for the Christian Catholic Church in the European lands which were part of the western Roman empire. Christian art and religious iconography began, about two hundred years after the death of Christ. Western Christian art and religious iconography was originally based on the classical art styles and imagery used by the Ancient Romans. In the period encompassing Medieval art iconography began to be standardised and to relate more closely to the texts found in the Bible.

Romanesque Art Style
The Romanesque art style of the middle was created largely for the Western Christian Church which became known as the Catholic church. The style of Romanesque Art was characterised by:

  • The production of Pietistic painting (religious Christian art) in the form of illuminated manuscripts, mosaics and fresco paintings in churches

  • Medieval art in the form of brightly colored stained glass windows

  • Illuminated manuscripts

  • The colors in the art of this period were generally muted except those used in manuscripts and stained glass windows

  • Figures in Romanesque Art often varied in size in relation to their importance

  • Religious shrines and caskets were decorated with fine metals, gilt work and enamel

  • Romanesque embroidery including the Bayeux Tapestry

  • Large, stone, figurative sculptures

  • Small Ivory Carvings

  • Murals

Later Romanesque art was influenced by the changes in Byzantine art.

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