Romanesque Art Essay

Pages: 4 (1338 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Romanesque Art

The Stylized Nature of Romanesque Art

"Style" is a word that is often bandied about without much regard for its meaning, and without a clear definition emerging from its common usage. Referring to someone's "style" can have a wide variety of meanings and implications, referring to aesthetic values in an incredibly broad sense as well as to general modes of behavior, and possibly reflecting individual values, beliefs, and assumptions, as well. The term is only slightly more specific when it is applied to individual works of art or to individual artists or artistic periods, at least as it is commonly used. Art historians and scholars, however, must establish greater degree of specificity and a stricter sense of meaning when they apply the word "style" and its derivatives to objects and periods of art, and while this still includes some reference to underlying values and beliefs, this is a more indirect and interpretive element of "style" when properly used, and the physical and observable elements of a piece are the features that more directly and concretely identify specific "styles" of art.

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The word "stylized" is often applied to Romanesque art, and this paper will examine the specifics of this label and why it has been attached to the art and architecture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries CE. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines "stylize" as, "to represent or design according to a style or stylistic pattern rather than according to nature or tradition." From this definition, it can be seen that "stylized" art is art that represents specific values and beliefs through the physical and aesthetic elements of that art, and not merely through the subject matter portrayed. Stylized art is art that departs from a natural and accurate depiction in specific and purposeful ways, providing a message through style at least as much (if not more so) as through subject.

The Style of Romanesque Art

Essay on Romanesque Art Assignment

There can be no question that the term "stylized" is quite appropriate in its application to Romanesque art given the above definition. The representations of human and animal figures, landscapes, and other representations in examples of art from this period are not at all naturalistic, and it is clear that their creators did not intend for them to be so (HighBeam 2005). The several different influences on the art of this period can be clearly observed in the style's use of bright and vibrant colors (at least in the surviving stained glass windows and well-preserved manuscripts from the period; colors in other art works have been dulled or completely worn away by time and the ever-present erosion of the elements), the varying sizes of figures within a single work, the abstractions presented by certain nature motifs, and even in the architectural details of the period's many expansive churches and other buildings (The Met 2010; Medieval Life and Times 2010; Romanes 2010). Each of these aspects of Romanesque art contribute directly to its stylization.

The bright colors that were used in many surviving examples of Romanesque art form one of the most salient details of the period's stylization. This was due in part to the Byzantine influence on the art of the period, as well as the increase trade between Europe and the Middle East and lands beyond that took place as a result of the Crusades, which made pigments more readily available (eHow 2010). Mostly primary colors were used in stained glass and in the illumination of manuscripts, along with gold and, less commonly, silver, which was used both for aesthetic reasons and as a demonstration of the wealth that was expended on the creation of these works by the Catholic Church and the individual churches and monasteries that produced these works (eHow 2010; The Met 2010).

A major influence in this period was, as the name implies, a return to many of the principles and techniques of Roman art (College of the Sequoias 2010; King's College 2010). One of the ways in which this can be seen is in the return… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Romanesque Art" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Romanesque Art.  (2010, November 3).  Retrieved April 13, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Romanesque Art."  3 November 2010.  Web.  13 April 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Romanesque Art."  November 3, 2010.  Accessed April 13, 2021.