L’art roman, épigone ou renaissance de l’art romain

The word « roman » (in French) was first employed in the early 19th century by a scholar in Normandy. It has led to a discussion as prolix as that of the linguists who use « romanes » for languages derived from latin. Thus, « l’art roman » would be seen as a prolongation of Roman art. But if we leave aside the debate about the term « art roman », the problem of its concreteness remains for us today. This introductory lecture will not concentrate on the similities which exist between « art roman » and « art romain » – this as already been done, and several lectures here present case studies of this kind. It will rather concentrate on the complex relationships that existed with the past during the 11th and 12th centuries. Works of art as well as texts witness to the continuing and very various interests in the past which were as much political as cultural or religious. If we stand back, we migth think of these two centuries as an interrupted sequence of revivals of Antiquity and its arts, whether of classical Antiquity or of the Early Christian period. With architecture, the arrival of Gothic marked a break, at a date which varies according to region : as to the figurative arts, and particularly sculpture, Roman art remained a major source of inspiration rigth upto the middle of the 13th century, with Italy of Frederick II as well as with the court of Saint Louis. However, it is with that moment which saw the creation of « art roman » in its first phase that we must ask a fundamental question : was it the wish to revive an ideal past which led to a study of the art of Antiquity or was it the wish to create a new style ? To answer this is not easy. First, the notion of a copy was not as it is today. Secondly, these two wishes were not mutually exclusive. Above all, « l’art roman » was constently driven by this dual ambition, throughout the centuries of its existence.  (traduction de Neil Stratford)

Rome et l’Antique : XIe‑XIIe siècles. Remarques, souvenirs, considérations éparses

Antique presences accompany the life of the city of Rome throughout the Middle Ages, many more – it is a legitimate assumption – compared to what still exists today. The perception of the ancient Roman in Rome is marked by the great familiarity produced by the daily contact with monuments and ancient remains, as the case of Cosmates workshops shows, but also by the deep disguise that the same monuments suffer in the medieval imagination, from well-known texts in which the ancient monuments are included in the ceremonial routes of religious life in the city. From time to time sources allow us to spy on some presence and to suspect the existence of evidence now lost ; the same medieval works of art suggest knowledge of the Antique by the artists, and modes of a « receipt » without any predictability. The few examples here shown try to establish key points of « visibility of ancient art » in the medieval city.

Observations sur l’organisation narrative de la broderie de Bayeux et ses rapports avec l’Antiquité

The Bayeux embroidery is a large linen embroidered, preserved on more than seventy meters long and about fifty centimeters wide, which tells the story of the conquest of England. The paper suggests classical artistic sources for this work through comparisons with narrative columns of Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and with the Arc of Constantine, among others. The system used in Bayeux narrative gets away from Nordic patterns and refers to representation systems of classical culture.

L’image de l’art monumental antique dans l’architecture romane provençale : nouvelles réflexions sur un ancien débat

Since the early nineteenth century, the influences of ancient monumental art in the architecture of the second romanesque age in Provence were considered and discussed before all as a testimony by excellence of a sensitivity to medieval forms of ancient architecture and sculpture. The general interest for the formal approach, heir, among others, of the traditions of classical archaeology and history of art in search of the origins and precursors of the Renaissance, has for a longtime overshadowed the questions of the meaning of the antique inspiration and of the place of Provence in a more general landscape. Before spectacular creations of the late romanesque art, imitation of paleochristian architecture announces, since the middle of the eleventh century, a deliberate return to the sources, in the spirit of the era of so-called Gregorian reform. The restoration, the reconstruction and the creation or production of tangible evidences of the time of Christian origins, real historical and legendary « charters of stone » inscribed in the landscape, go hand in hand with the efforts of local churches to rebuild the foundations of their legitimacy, often by claiming their roots in apostolic times. In the twelfth century, interest in the architectural and decorative vocabulary of public Early Roman Empire monuments, vestiges of that heroic era long-desired as much as monumental useful and prestigious frame than as materials resource, seems to continue this research, also suggested by early Christian sarcophagi imitation and by the transposition into a new antiquisant style, nourished by observing concrete models and free adaptation of borrowed motives, and by monumental allusions at the time of founders saints, titulars of the most significant religious buildings.

Les compositions décoratives en opus reticulatum d’un aqueduc romain de Lyon et leurs imitations dans l’architecture romane des régions rhodaniennes. Une nouvelle approche

The opus reticulatum of the most important aqueduct of the roman city of Lyon has aroused many imitations in the romanesque churches of the rhodanian countries. We recognizes there the main arrangements visible on the roman monument : great horizontal friezes, ornemental bowes and tympanums. It is surprising to see too there accidental patterns of the aqueduct : great residual triangles abandoned there by plunderers of rubbles, lines of small triangles or squares used for correcting imperfections of elevation.

Les chapelles des archanges à Cuixà

The opus reticulatum of the most important aqueduct of the roman city of Lyon has aroused many imitations in the romanesque churches of the rhodanian countries. We recognizes there the main arrangements visible on the roman monument : great horizontal friezes, ornemental bowes and tympanums. It is surprising to see too there accidental patterns of the aqueduct : great residual triangles abandoned there by plunderers of rubbles, lines of small triangles or squares used for correcting imperfections of elevation.

Traces d’horloges solaires sur les édifices religieux médiévaux méridionaux : inventaire et étude critique

This paper summarize a M.A. A survey of scratch-dials has been made in three departments in the south of France : Aude, Hérault and Pyrénées-orientales. All the « horological » marks, founded during this study on the south wall of medieval religious buildings, has been studied and criticized. A bracket dating is proposed and structural problems are discussed.

Natacha PIANO
Approfondissements sur les peintures murales de Notre‑Dame de Vals

The relationship, often recognized, between the murals of Notre-Dame de Vals and the major paintings of northern Catalonia, traditionally attached to the circle of Pedret, presents nuances that have not been sufficiently highlighted. Through a depth iconographic and stylistic analysis and a confrontation with a corpus of works more diversified than usual, which benefits from the last restorations, we propose to revisit these contacts and questions to them attached. The comparison with the oldest works of Catalonia, and with secondary painted cycles, allows us to glimpse the diversity of traditions at work and to sense the origins and stage of development of a profession practiced by a paint shop in a high valley of the Pyrenees.

Christina WEISING
Les corbels du midi, miroir de l’art antique

Corbels in the Midi reveal close connections with antique architectural elements. These structural or iconography connections are visible in cornice systems with « integrated corbels », but also in other elements of higher parts of antiquity monuments, such as antefixes. Ornamentation has transported from the antique metopes to the corbels of Romanesque cornices. All those elements and many more played a significant part in the transmission of motifs. Decoration and iconography of Romanesque corbels, from Janus to a character on a support of leaves, derive directly from the antique repertoire. Even the so called « modillon à copeaux » takes its roots in antiquity.

Et sinistra manu capillum eius ad se adducens. L’adoption d’un motif antique dans l’iconographie du sacrifice d’Abraham

A reference frame : the images with the sacrifice of Abraham is one of the Biblical subjects that have enjoyed greater popularity since its first appearance in Christian art. That’s the reason why some recurrent iconographic patterns can be identified, even some minor changes can be observed, and then, sometimes, an entirely new meaning arises.
A proposal : this paper suggests an iconographic route for this peculiar motif that has not been sufficiently noticed by the scholars.
A dramatic gesture : on the verge of completing the sacrifice of his son, Abraham grasps the hair of Isaac with such impetus that out of its closed fist excels a hair tuft.
An iconographic analysis : considering the first appearance of this motif in christian art, its geographical and chronological distribution, sometimes its conspicuous absence, a discreet series can be obtained allowing some conjectures. Once a sequence is drawn, it is envisaged an old origin for this iconographical issue. Finally, a possible interpretation is suggested to clarify the reasons to adapt the motif to a well-established visual pattern.

Survivances et altérations du chapiteau composite à l’époque romane

The composite chapiter is a Roman creation which not attracted much attention of the romanesque sculptors focused on the Corinthian chapiter. After a first census on the french territory, it appears that the composite chapiter is present both in the eleventh century that during the twelfth, mostly en Velay where its success remains to be explained. It generally reflects a taste for ornament and a more general interest in the ancient world. The composites chapiters of the eleventh century reveal a familiarity with the models of the High Middle Ages from which they derive. Two major trends appear within the production : one imposes itself by a relative clacissism when the other goes towards an ornamental proliferation. The schematic and ornamental solutions of the past are abandoned in the twelfth century, during which there is a interest in the genuine composite chapiter whose principles, complexity and fullness are rediscovered.

Les répertoires ornementaux classiques et leur survivance dans les églises romanes espagnoles du XIe siècle : l’exemple du décor en damier ou ajedrezado jaqués

Despite its wide presence in the Romanesque sculpture, the study of the checkerboard decor has not yet enjoyed a high attention among scholars. This pattern of archaic origin is present in the ornamentation of Greek and Roman ceramics and mosaics, themselves resumed in the Middle Ages. However, its implementation into three-dimensional forms is still difficult to clarify, perhaps this has been made possible through the paint or the stucco. It seems possible that this pattern, surviving in the mosaic and painting, has appeared in the medieval sculpture in the first half of the eleventh century. Indeed, contrary to what the traditional studies have assumed, we must acknowledge its presence in the churches of the Empordá and Roussillon, where the chronology of chapiters with a checkerboard sculpture does not exceed the first half of the eleventh century. It seems interesting to see how this scene appears in Hispanic sculpture, and then spread on the peninsula and in France with great speed. It is precisely because of the huge spread in the main centres of the Christian Middle Ages that his study may help trace a kind of artistic geography that reveals the main production sites and centres of influence of European romanesque art between the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Postérité et transmutations de quelques thèmes et formes antiques dans l’enluminure romane

The pictorial patterns and models, inherited from the Greek, Roman, early Christian and late antique eras, experienced varying degrees in the romanesque illumination, from the more or less direct imitation to the creative reelaboration. The investigation will focuse first the areas where ancient figurative tradition has been faithful maintained (copies of scholar literature, literature). Pictures of Evangelists and the representation of Maiestas are rooted in a long tradition whose Romanesque formulation is interesting to study. We finally will examine the interpretation given to the classic ornamental forms, as well as the resumption of ancient christological themes, in two areas where the romanesque genius was particularly early to flourish : tables of canons and the illuminated initial.

Ripoll et Gérone : deux exemples privilégiés du dialogue entre l’art roman et la culture classique

The abbey of Ripoll constitutes a paradigmatic example of a privileged relationship with the classical world. Its scriptorium and its library, especially assets among ends of the 10th century and the first half of the 11th century, are a sample of a peculiar passion for the study of the classics, in particular of the sciences of the quadrivium. The result of this love from the antique letters is the creation, like in other Benedictine abbeys like Fleury or Monte-Cassino, of a new culture in which the old models condition and give meaning to the construction of the present and stretch this way on the most varied artistic fields. This phenomenon, which in the case of Ripoll can describe like « culture of calendar », is perfectly visible in the terrain of manuscripts illustration as well as in the monumental area. The progressive visualization and externalization of this culture is shown in the monastery itself as well as in its influence area. Commonplaces like the Tabernacle of Moisès or the Veil of the Temple of Jerusalem seem to be the background of the decoration of the altar of Ripoll or of the making of the Embroidery of the Creation of Girona, in the same way than the structure of Roman honorary arches will project itself in the construction of the occidental portal of Ripoll.

Barbara Drake BOEHM
Les gemmes antiques dans l’Œuvre de Limoges et du Centre de la France

Recent scholarship on the reuse of classical gems in medieval goldsmiths’ work has largely neglected works of art from central France and in « l’oeuvre de Limoges » This paper provides an initial survey, focusing on major examples preserved largely in French church treasuries. The types of gems, their subjects, and dating are identified and the reasons for their choice considered.

Les avatars d’un mythe antique au Moyen Âge. Thésée et le minotaure aux époques préromane et romane

First and foremost, this study presents the two ways Middle Ages encountered the myth of the minotaur and integrated it into its collective imagination : through the late antique representations of the labyrinth and through the struggle between Theseus and the Minotaur as well as their textual intermediaries.The study traces several images and texts of the 10th to 12th centuries in which Theseus and the Minotaur appear together or separately. In this regard special attention has been paid to the labyrinths depicted in manuscript painting and pavement mosaics. Also discussed are some Romanesque sculptures where the Minotaurs are sometimes accompanied by identifying inscriptions. They serve as prime evidence for the bodily confusion of Minotaurs with Centaurs. (See minotaurs and onocentaurs) according to the new use of this term. A large part of the study is devoted to the moralization of the Minotaur and to the symbolic interpretation of Theseus’victory.The integration of the labyrinth into the prestigious series of the Seven Wonders of the World is also examined with respect to the way Theseus and the Minotaur are associated there sometimes represented as part of this sequence.

Têtes, lions et attributs sexuels : survivances et évolutions de l’usage apotropaïque des images de l’Antiquité au Moyen Âge

In ancient times, some sculptures were supposed to keep away the forces of evil : the Gorgon’s sight, carved on the pediment, defended the temples by the height, statues of lions guarding the dead, Priape showing off his sex hunting thieves and birds away from gardens. In the Middle Ages, inscriptions, figurative or written sources evidence the evolution of these symbols, which however retain their propitiatory or protecting value. Thus, the function of the Gorgon is relayed by the heads of humans and animals, sometimes grimacing, carved on buildings, statues of lions are placed near the thresholds of religious buildings and figures of men and women, often on the side lines show sex, in the same protective function.

Daniel PRIGENT, Christian SAPIN
La construction romane et ses emprunts aux méthodes de construction antiques : méthodologie, essai de synthèse

The masonry have long been the forgotten object of archaeological studies devoted to Romanesque monuments. However, in recent years, particularly due to numerous interventions on large as small buildings, our understanding has grown quickly, however it still remains improperly advanced by region. A better knowledge of Merovingian or Carolingian buildings, following the increase in archaeological studies of elevations, objective datings (dendrochronology, radiocarbon, thermoluminescence, archeomagnetism), helps to discover the fate of ancient practices. These were in fact less abandoned on the stone buildings that what we imagined until recently. A quick overview on different types of masonry gives us an overview of the fate of the main types of ancient devices, but also to understand the genesis and development of stone vaulting. It appears, however, that some of these technical knowledges will evolve in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The main break seems to correspond to early development of prefabrication stones of medium-sized stones, early in the eleventh century, as evidenced when different buildings, both religious and military. The masonry of rough-stone is then fitted, by the way of a profound transformation of practices. This trend does not exclude, however, the persistence of a few sites faithfully applying ancient formulas, in the heart of the XIIth century.

Jean‑Charles BALTY
De l’art romain à l’art roman : les spolia, « mémoire de l’antique »

Spolia are not reused elements for the only scope of recovering materials – even decorated ones – which had no more to be worked out or sculpted and which allowed to spare a more or less skilled labour and to reduce the cost of a construction. Present in numerous monuments since the 4th century AD and bounded by rather strict rules, they often refer – in an ideological, and even programmatical manner – to the most glorious centuries of the history of Rome raised to « models ». The present paper pays particular attention to sarcophagi, sarcophagi of kings, popes and members of noble families in Italy, Gaul and Spain which clearly justify such an exegesis, as well as to sarcophagi of saints and martyrs to whom these reuses afford an unquestionable antiquity, and even authenticity. It also recalls the case of ivories, gems and cameos. But it mainly aims to fix a chronology, as precise as possible, in order to establish a much more evident continuity between these « models » of the Antiquity and the works of mediaeval (especially romanesque) sculpture which are inspired by them.

Walter BERRY
Le recours à l’Antique à Saint‑Lazare d’Autun

The presence of the Antique in the architecture and sculpture of the present cathedral of Saint-Lazare at Autun is well known. A closer look, however, reveals that the builders may have borrowed Roman elements and applied them to the twelfth century structure without possessing a genuine comprehension of Classical architecture. Such « deficiencies » in knowledge or observation are even more apparent in the manner in which sculptors handled the representation of Antique features, this being especially apparent in the Last Judgement tympanum of the church’s north portal. Reflection on this mode of using copied or imitated Classical features can possibly inform us about the nature of the relationship between artisans and patrons at Saint-Lazare. Further, from the way in which the material remains of Antiquity were reemployed, it may also be possible to consider the reasons for the choices made by patrons when devising their iconographic scheme. In asking what iconographical role a motif or element may have played, we can also ask more deeply both what it could have meant to them and what it can tell us about the intellectual community to which the patrons belonged.

Milagros GUARDIA
L’art chrétien et musulman hispanique : la recherche du prestige de l’Antiquité

The present paper is an analysis of those most relevant aspects that allow us to understand the ideological approaches as well as the characteristics of the changes observed in the attitude that during the High Hispanic Middle Ages the Christian and Muslim cultures sustained in front of the classic past. The study, however, limits to a very clear-cut geography, that of the kingdom of Astúries and al-Andalus, in accordance with a chronology – the 8th and 9th centuries – that coincides exactly with their first artistic demonstrations. In another way, it is a matter of revising the process of creation or rising of the artistic ways that will define the personality of this cultures. And this means that the loans, the debits and the variations in this attitude are here object of analysis from topoi or relevant examples in the respective artistic realizations, while starting, logically, with a careful study of the historical context.

« L’oubli du passé ». Les origines de l’art médiéval en Catalogne

The disappearance of cultural elites and thus of an artistic production sustained during the sixth and eighth centuries, and the way of territorial occupation by the Carolingian authority have made the emergence of medieval art in Catalonia a imported phenomenon. In this perspective, the ancient art had no ideological influence if not as a reflection of the cultural formation of the new leaders of the Carolingian settlement in the territory. An example of this process is the parallel way followed by the cities of Barcelona and Terrassa. We also propose a reading of the Carolingian stone altar of the church of Sant Pere de Terrassa. The basic cultural and artistic created in the ninth century is the root of the splendor of the eleventh century, which this time, took as one of its benchmarks ancient art.


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