Grotesques/Gargoyles• During the Romanesque period, artists began decoratingcathedrals with grotesques and gargoyles (although they becamethe most popular during the Gothic period).• Grotesques are decorative sculptures on the outside of abuilding, usually of an animal or fantastical creature.• Gargoyles are similar to grotesques, except they are also a waterspout (usually designed with a water channel up the back and outthe mouth). They function to help rainwater flow away from thebuilding, so that it does not weather the stone. Grotesques (above), gargoyles (below)
Romanesque Portals• In the late 11th and early 12th centuries, rich ensembles of figuralreliefs began to appear again, most often in the grand stone portalarea around the door through which the faithful would pass.• Tympanum – the prominent semicircular lunette above thedoorway proper, comparable in importance to the triangularpediment of a Grecian temple.• Voussoirs – the wedge-shaped blocks that together form thearchivolts of the arch framing the tympanum.• Lintel – the horizontal beam above the doorway.• Trumeau – the center post supporting the lintel in the middle ofthe doorway.• Jambs – the side posts of the doorway.• Any or all of these parts could be decorated with relief sculpture.
Vezelay, France• Location from where the Second and Third Crusades began.• Tympanum above the central portal of the narthex• Depiction of Christ giving the power of the Holy Spirit to theapostles on the Pentecost (7th Sunday after Easter), so that theycould go forth into the world and spread the Gospels.• Light rays emanating from Christ’s hands represent the HolySpirit.• The heathens of the world appear on the lintel below, and ineight panels above the central scene.• The depictions of unconverted races of people include peoplewith giant ears, pig snouts, dog heads, and flaming hair.• Also included are images of human suffering (people who arehunchbacked, mute, blind, and lame), awaiting the salvation to Tympanum reliefcome. from the church of La Madeleine, Vezelay, France c. 1120
St. Pierre at Moissac, France • This tympanum depicts the second coming of Christ as king and judge of the world in its last days. • Christ is large and centered, flanked by the four symbols for the evangelists and attendant angels holding scrolls to record human deeds for judgment. • The smaller crowned musician figures are the 24 elders who accompany Christ as the kings of this world and make music in his praise. • Wavy horizontal lines (representing the clouds of heaven) separate the elders into tiers. • By making a large Christ figure the central focus of the tympanum relief, the message is sent that Christ is the door to salvation. • Figures are elongated (tall and thin)Tympanum relief at St. Pierre • The trumeau below this tympanum features a prophet Moissac, France (perhaps Jeremiah or Isaiah), who displays a scroll bearing his prophetic vision. This again pairs Old and New Testament themes.
The Morgan Madonna• Large scale sculpture in the round was still rare, but small figuresof the holy family or saints were commonly placed on altars to bevenerated as a symbol of the person they depicted.• This sculpture is called the Morgan Madonna because it was onceowned by American financier J.P. Morgan.• This image is similar to the Byzantine Theotokos images of Maryas mother of Christ.• Here, Jesus holds the bible in his left hand, and makes a gestureof blessing with his right hand (now broken off). He is theembodiment of the divine wisdom contained in the holy scriptures.• This style of sculpture is known as the “throne of wisdom” (sedessapientiae in Latin), in which Mary, seated on a wooden throne, isherself the throne of wisdom because her lap is the Christ Child’sthrone.• Originally brightly painted. The Morgan Madonna c. 1150 Auvergne, France Painted wood, 2’ 7”
Christ in Majesty • This apse fresco was once located in a church in northern Spain, but has been moved to a museum in Boston. • What is the name of the shape surrounding Christ? • What are the four symbols surrounding Christ? • The seven hanging lamps (one is partially lost) represent the seven Christian communities where St. John addressed his revelation (the Apocalypse) at the beginning of his book. • The apostles stand below, paired off in formal frontality. • The drapery falls in stiff folds, creating a sense of rhythm. • The formality, symmetry, and placement of the figures are influenced by Byzantine art. • The figures are again elongated and stylized. Christ in Majesty,Apse, Santa Maria de Mur. Fresco, c. 1150. 24’ high.
Reliquary of Sainte Foy Reliquary of Ste. Foy c. 1100. Sainte-Foy, Conques, France• Sainte Foy (Faith) was a child in the 4th century who refused to Gold, silver gilt, jewels, andpay homage to the Roman gods, and was subsequently martyred. cameos over a wooden core.• The skull of Ste. Foy was originally housed in the French abbey 2’ 9.5” tall.of Agen, but was stolen by a monk and taken to Conques (c. 880).• The monks justified the act as furta sacra (holy theft), claimingSaint Faith herself wanted to move.• The skull is kept in this lavishly decorated reliquary, made of awooden core covered in gold and silver, and encrusted with insetgemstones and cameos (gemstones carved with tiny reliefs).• The gemstones were donated by worshippers and attached tothe reliquary over many years.• The headpiece worn by the figure is a ceremonial parade helmet(worn by soldiers on special ceremonial occasions) and a martyr’scrown.• The backside of the throne depicts an image of the crucifixion, cameoengraved in rock crystal, creating a parallel between Christ’smartyrdom and Ste. Foy’s.
Bayeux Tapestry• Embroidered on linen, not woven.• Only about 1.5’ high, but almost 230’ long, it is a continuousnarrative of a crucial moment in England’s history: the defeat ofthe Anglo-Saxons by the Normans (lead by William the Conqueror)at Hastings in 1066, uniting all of England and much of Franceunder one rule.• Commissioned by Bishop Odo, the half-brother of William.• The story: When the Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessordied, it was believed he intended for William the Conqueror to be Bayeux Tapestry c. 1080. Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux, France.the next king of England. The Anglo-Saxon nobleman Harold Embroidered wool on linen. 1’ 8” tall x 229’ 8” long(Edward’s brother-in-law) initially swore his feudal allegiance toWilliam, but later betrayed his feudal vows, accepting the crown ofEngland for himself.• Harold is a heroic figure at the beginning of the story, but thenevents overtake him. After his coronation, cheering crowdscelebrate, until Halley’s Comet crosses the sky, portending disaster.Upon hearing the news, Harold slumps in his throne. He foreseesthe ghostly fleet of Norman ships already riding the waves. Williamassembled the last great Viking flotilla on the Normandy coast, andcrushes Harold’s forces.
Winchester Psalter • Depiction shows the gaping jaws of Hell, a traditional Anglo- Saxon subject. • Inscription at the top reads: “Here is Hell and the angels who are locking the doors.” • The ornamental frame that fills the page represents the door to hell. • The last Judgment has ended, and the damned are crammed into the mouth of hell, the wide-open jaw of a grotesque double- headed monster. • Sharp-beaked birds and fire-breathing dragons sprout from the monster’s mane, while hairy, horned demons torment the lost souls who tumble around in the darkness. • Among the souls are kings and queens with golden crowns and monks with shaved heads, a daring reminder to the clergy and the wealthy of the vulnerability of their own souls.Page with Hellmouth,Winchester PsalterWinchester, England, c. 1150.Ink & tempera on vellum, 12” x 9”
Eadwine the Scribe • The Eadwine Psalter was made by an English monk known as Eadwine the Scribe, and consisted of 166 illustrations. • The last page presents a rare picture of a Romanesque artist at work. • The patterning of the drapery, while still firm, falls more softly and follows the movements of the body beneath. • However, although the artist has yielded to the need for a more naturalistic representation, the instinct for decorating the surface remained, as is apparent in the gown’s lightly-painted whorls and spirals. • Although this is a portrait of Eadwine, it is probably a generic type and not a true likeness. • Although the true author of the Psalter (the Psalms) is King David, Eadwine exaggerated his importance by likening himself to an evangelist writing his Gospel, and by including an inscription calling himself “a prince among scribes.” • Eadwine declares the excellence of his work will cause his fame to endure forever, and consequently he can offer his book as an acceptable gift to God. Although he is concerned with fame, it is less to do withEadwine the Scribe at Work, himself as a great artist, and more to do with ensuring his place in God’sEadwine Psalter, By Eadwine the Scribe favor.c. 1150. Ink & tempera on vellum.15.5” x 11.5”
Copy of Hildegard’s VisionLiber Scivias, by Hildegard of Bingen Bingen, Germany, c. 1150 Hildegard’s Vision • Hildegard of Bingen was born into an aristocratic German family. Like many women of her class, she entered into a convent at a young age, where she proved a capable administrator and scholar, and eventually became leader of the convent. • Since childhood, she had been subject to what she interpreted as divine visions, and in here forties, with the assistance of the monk scribe Volmar, she began to record them. • Her book, Liber Scivias (from the Latin scite vias lucis, “know the ways of the light”), records her visions. • In this copy of the original (the original was lost), Hildegard is depicted receiving a flash of divine insight, represented by the flames encircling her head. She records her visions on a tablet while Volmar waits in the wings. • Many leaders (both political and religious) sought Hildegard’s divine insight. • In addition to her book of visions, Hildegard also wrote a treatise on the natural world as well as a medical book.