Romanesque art


Romanesque art

Sculpture and painting that reached its height in western Europe c. 1075–1125, a fusion of Roman, Carolingian and Ottonian, and Byzantine art with local Germanic traditions. The expansion of monasticism in the 10th–11th centuries revived the art of monumental sculpture after almost 600 years of dormancy. Relief sculpture depicted biblical history and church doctrine on column capitals and around the massive doors of churches. Natural objects were freely transformed into visionary images that derive their power from abstract linear design and expressive distortion. Linear stylization is seen also in the capital letters and marginal decoration of illuminated manuscripts. Romanesque art was concerned with transcendental values, in sharp contrast to the naturalism and humanism of the earlier Classical and later Gothic art traditions. Monumental painting that imitated the sculptural style covered the interior walls of churches. Both sculpture and painting incorporated a broad range of subject matter, including theological works, reflecting the revival of learning. See also Romanesque architecture.

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