Make your own free website on

Romanesque Synopsis:

Romanesque Art

Christian art received great support in the late Middle Ages. This period can be divided into two periods: Romanesque (c.1050-1150) [c. 1050-1200, G11] and Gothic (c. 1150-1400) [c. 1140-1500, G11]. Early Christian basilica plan were improved with stone barrel or groin vaults supported with ribs and butresses. Towers were added to the crossing and the west facade. The Abbey Church of Sainte Foy exhibits these developments and the ambulatory, important to display relics in a pilgrimage church. Focus is on the altar, but also upwards. Painting emphasized the lives of the saints and was influenced by Byzantine art, as in the Christ in Majesty painting in Tahull, Spain. Sculpture also decorated medieval churches. The portal, including the tympanum, was one of the most imporant areas for sculpture, as in the Last Judgment, from the Cathedral of Saint-Lazare, France. Lively scenes in column capitals was another Romanesque sculptural development. Independent sculpture, usually in the form of a devotional image, such as the Throne of Wisdom, was commonly executed in painted wood. The re-introduction of funerary art began at this time with tomb effigies. Book making remained important, and embroidery, such as the Bayeux Tapestry became a new form of narrative work.


Romanesque Art

Romanesque Art 1050 - 1200


Trumeau - central columnar support in a main entrance portal
Crossing tower
Gislebertus - sculptor of the "Last Judgement" tympanum
Compound piers
Campanile - 'camp-a-neel-ya': bell tower
Reliquary - ornate box to hold relics
Quadrant vault - half barrel vault
Square Schematism - each nave bay measures exactly one-half and each square in the aisles exactly one-quarter of a crossing square, and so on throughout the building (G9-351)
Tribunes - upper galleries over inner aisles
Sedes Sapientiae or Throne of Wisdom - image popular in Romanesque art


Nave (barrel) vault -St. Sernin, Toulouse, France, Ca. 1070 - 1120
("The Angelus: Saint-Sernin by Dr. Marie-France Hilgar

Sant’ Ambrogio, Milan, Italy, late 11th cent. - early 12th cent.

West facade of St. Etienne, Caen, France, 1067- 1120

Nave, Durham Cathedral, England, c. 1093 - 1130

Cathedral (1063) Campanile (1174) and Baptistery (1153) of Pisa, Italy

Baptistery of San Giovanni, Florence, Italy, 1059

St. Pierre, Moissac, France
Christ in Majesty with angels & 24 Elders, tympanum, south portal, 16’ 6” diameter, c. 1115-35
Old Testament Prophet trumeau of the south portal, 1115 - 30

St. Lazare at Autun, France c. 1120 - 1135
Last Judgment, by Gislebertus, west tympanum, 11’4” x 21”

La Madeleine, Vezelay, France

The Ascension of Christ and Mission of the Apostles, tympanum of the central portal of the narthex, c. 1120 - 32

Moses Expounding the Law, Bury Bible, Master Hugo, 1’ 8” x 1’ 2”, ca. 1135

Bayeux Tapestry, Embroidery wool on linen, Bayeux, France c. 1070 - 80




by Alison Stones

Romanesque Images

Art of the Crusades Era

Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies

European Art: Veneration of the Virgin
("Virgin and Child Enthroned")

DJB Quick Notes:

~ St. Matthew: Angel
~ St. John: Eagle
~ St. Luke: Ox
~ St. Mark: Lion


DJB In-Depth Notes:

~ "Romanesque" is specifically an art historical designation referring to stylistic treatments through Europe in the same period: it describes Medieval art that shares similarites with Ancient Rome, including -

~ this massive building trend was based on several factors, the need to house relics which would be visited by many pilgrims, possible relief and gratitude having passed through millenium year, and increased wealth of church and regions to showcase and consolidate presence and authority