Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 

 


CHAPTER TWO
 

ROMANESQUE ART
 

ARCHITECTURE-I
ARCHITECTURE-II
ARCHITECTURE-III
ARCHITECTURE-IV
SCULPTURE-I
SCULPTURE-II
METALWORK AND PAINTING-I
METALWORK AND PAINTING-II
METALWORK AND PAINTING-III
 
 

SCULPTURE


Burgundy


AUTUN CATHEDRAL.



Autun Cathedral (St. Lazare), Magnificent Last Judgment tympanum (c.1130) above the west door. c. 1130-1135. Autun, France.




Autun Cathedral (St. Lazare), Christ in Judgment




426. GISLEBERTUS. Last Judgment (detail), west tympanum, Autun Cathedral, ñ. 1130-35



Autun Cathedral, Heavenly Jerusalem (detail)



The tympanum (the lunette above the lintel) of the main portal of Romanesque churches usually holds a composition centered on the Enthroned Christ, most often the Apocalyptic Vision, or the Last Judgment, the most awesome scene of Christian art. At Autun Cathedral, the latter subject has been visualized by Gislebertus with singularly expressive force. Our detail (fig. 426), with the weighing of the souls, is from the lower right part of the tympanum. At the bottom, the dead rise from their graves in fear and trembling; some are already beset by snakes or gripped by huge, clawlike hands. Above, their fate quite literally hangs in the balance, with devils yanking at one end of the scales and angels at the other. The saved souls cling like children to the hem of the angel's garment for protection, while the condemned, seized by grinning devils, are cast into the mouth of Hell. These devils betray the same nightmarish imagination we observed in the Romanesque animal world. They are composite creatures, human in general outline but with spidery, birdlike legs, furry thighs, tails, pointed ears, and enormous, savage mouths. Their violence, unlike that of the animal monsters, is unchecked, and they enjoy themselves to the full in their grim occupation. No visitor, having "read in the marble" here (to speak with St. Bernard), could fail to enter the church in a chastened spirit.



STE.-MADELEINE, VEZELAY.



Church of Ste-Marie-Madeleine



427. The Mission of the Apostles, tympanum of center portal of narthex, Ste.-Madeleine, Vezelay. 1120-32
 

Perhaps the most beautiful of all Romanesque tympanums is that of Ste.-Madeleine in Vezelay, not far from Autun in Burgundy (fig. 427). Its subject, the Mission of the Apostles, had a special meaning for this age of crusades, since it proclaims the duty of every Christian to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. From the hands of the majestic ascending Christ we see the rays of the Holy Spirit pouring down upon the apostles, all of them equipped with copies of the Scriptures in token of their mission.

The lintel and the compartments around the central group are filled with representatives of the heathen world, a veritable encyclopedia of medieval anthropology which includes all sorts of legendary races (fig. 428). On the archivolt (the arch framing the tympanum) we recognize the signs of the zodiac and the labors appropriate to every month of the year, to indicate that the preaching of the Faith is as unlimited in time as it is in space.












 

428. Pig-Snouted Ethiopians,
portion of tympanum,
Ste.-Madeleine, Vezelay





Romanesque Classicism


PROVENCE.

The portal sculpture at Moissac, Autun, and Vezelay, although varied in style, has many qualities in common: intense expression, unbridled fantasy, and a nervous agility of form that owes more to manuscript illumination and metalwork than to the sculptural tradition of antiquity. The Apostle from St.-Sernin, in contrast, had impressed us with its stoutly "Roman" flavor. The influence of classical monuments was particularly strong in Provence, the coastal region of southeastern France, which had been part of the Graeco-Roman world far longer than the rest of the country and is full of splendid Roman remains. Perhaps for this reason, the Romanesque style persisted longer in these areas than elsewhere. Looking at the center portal of the church at St.-Gilles-du-Gard (fig. 429), one of the great masterpieces of Romanesque art, we are struck immediately by the classical flavor of the architectural framework, with its free-standing columns, meander patterns, and fleshy acanthus ornament. The two large statues, carved almost in the round, have a sense of weight and volume akin to that of the Apostle from St.-Sernin, although, being half a century later in date, they also display the richness of detail we have observed in the intervening monuments. They stand on brackets supported by crouching beasts of prey, and these, too, show a Roman massiveness, while the small figures on the base (Cain and Abel) recall the style of Moissac.



FIDENZA CATHEDRAL.

The two statues at St.-Gilles-du-Gard are akin to the splendid figure of King David from the facade of Fidenza Cathedral in Lombardy (fig. 430) by Benedetto Antelami, the greatest sculptor of Italian Romanesque art. That we should know his name is not surprising in itself, as artists' signatures are far from rare in Romanesque times. What makes Antelami exceptional is the fact that his work shows a considerable degree of individuality, so that, for the first time since the ancient Greeks, we can begin to speak (though with some hesitation) of a personal style. His David, too, approaches the ideal of the self-sufficient statue more closely than any medieval work we have seen so far. The Apostle from St.-Sernin is one of a series of figures, all of them immutably fixed to their niches, while Antelami's David stands physically free and even shows an attempt to recapture the Classical contrapposto. To be sure, he would look awkward if placed on a pedestal in isolation. He demands the architectural framework for which he was made, but certainly to a far lesser extent than do the two statues at St.-Gilles. Nor is he subject to the group discipline of a series; his only companion is a second niche statue on the other side of the portal. The David'is an extraordinary achievement indeed, especially if we consider that not much more than a hundred years separate it from the beginnings of the sculptural revival.



429. North jamb, center portal, St.-Gilles-du-Gard. Second quarter of the 12th century
430. BENEDETTO ANTELAMI. King David, ñ.
1180-90. West facade, Fidenza Cathedral



 

 


Benedetto Antelami

Benedetto Antelami, (born c. 1150, probably Lombardy [Italy]—died c. 1230, Parma), Italian sculptor and architect considered to have been one of the greatest of his time.

Little is known of his life. It is believed that he served his apprenticeship in sculpture at Saint-Trophîme in Arles, Fr., and that this service may have influenced his sensitivity to French (particularly Provençal) stylistic developments. It is thought that he also belonged to the magistri Antelami, a civil builders’ guild located in the Lake Como region of present-day northern Italy. One of his earliest signed works is the Deposition from the Cross, a relief sculpture (dated 1178) located in the right transept of the cathedral of Parma. Between 1188 and 1218 Antelami worked on various sculptural and architectural elements of the cathedral of Borgo San Donnino (now Fidenza) near Parma. In 1196 he started work on the construction and decoration of the magnificent baptistery of Parma cathedral (completed 1270). His last work is believed to have been the decoration and (at least in part) the construction of the church of Sant’Andrea at Vercelli, the architecture of which successfully combined Tuscan Romesque with Gothic characteristics (such as flying buttresses, rose windows, and ribbed vaulting) and won him lasting renown.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 






The Meuse Valley

The emergence of distinct artistic personalities in the twelfth century is a phenomenon that is rarely acknowledged, perhaps because it contradicts the widespread notion that all medieval art is anonymous. It does not happen very often, of course, but it is no less significant for all that. Antelami is not an isolated case. He cannot even claim to be the earliest. Nor is the revival of individuality confined to Italy. We also find it in one particular region of the north, in the valley of the Meuse River, which runs from northeastern France into Belgium and Holland. This region had been the home of the classicizing Reims style in Car-olingian times (see figs. 388 and 389), and that awareness of classical sources pervades its art during the Romanesque period. Here again, interestingly enough, the revival of individuality is linked with the influence of ancient art, although this influence did not produce works on a monumental scale.

Mosan Romanesque sculpture excelled in metalwork, such as the splendid baptismal font of 1107-18 in Liege (fig. 431), which is also the masterpiece of the earliest among the individually known artists of the region, Renier of Huy. The vessel rests on 12 oxen (symbols of the 12 apostles), like Solomon's basin in the Temple at Jerusalem as described in the Bible. The reliefs make an instructive contrast with those of Bernward's doors (see fig. 397), since they are about the same height. Instead of the rough expressive power of the Ottonian panel, we find here a harmonious balance of design, a subtle control of the sculptured surfaces, and an understanding of organic structure that, in medieval terms, are amazingly classical. The figure seen from the back (beyond the tree on the left in our picture), with its graceful turning movement and Greek-looking drapery, might almost be taken for an ancient work.



431. RENIER OF HUY. Baptismal Font. 1107—18. Bronze, St.-Barthelemy, Liege





431. RENIER OF HUY. Baptismal Font. 1107—18. Bronze, St.-Barthelemy, Liege




Germany

The one monumental free-standing statue of Romanesque art—perhaps not the only one made, but the only one that has survived—is that of an animal, and in a secular rather than a religious context: the lifesize bronze lion on top of a tall shaft that Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony had placed in front of his palace at Brunswick in 1166 (fig. 432). The wonderfully ferocious beast, of course, personifies the duke, or at least that aspect of his personality that earned him his nickname. It will remind us in a curious way of the archaic bronze she-wolf of Rome (see fig. 235). Perhaps the resemblance is not entirely coincidental, since the she-wolf was on public view in Rome at that time and must have had a strong appeal for Romanesque artists.

The more immediate relatives of the Brunswick lion, however, are the countless bronze water ewers in the shape of lions, dragons, griffins, and such, that came into use in the twelfth century for the ritual washing of the priest's hands during Mass. These vessels, another instance of monsters doing menial service for the Lord, were of Near Eastern inspiration. The beguiling specimen reproduced in figure 433 still betrays its descent from the winged beasts of Persian art, transmitted to the West through trade with the Islamic world (compare fig. 364).
 


432. Lion Monument. 1166. Bronze, length ñ. 6' (1.8 m).
Cathedral Square, Brunswick, Germany


433. Ewer. Mosan. c. 1130. Gilt bronze, height 7 1/4" (18.5 cm).
Victoria
&
Albert Museum, London

 
 

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