Jordi CAMPS i SÒRIA
Mireia MESTRE i CAMPÀ
CONSERVER ET GÉRER LA PEINTURE MURALE ROMANE DANS UN MUSÉE. LA COLLECTION DU MUSEU NACIONAL D’ART DE CATALUNYA
The management and conservation of a collection as emblematic as the Romanesque mural paintings of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Barcelona) mean a constant challenge that means working continuously on the study, preservation, dissemination and exhibition of its works. First of all, remind that they are pieces completely set apart from its original context, and somehow the museum has to explain it. Because of this, since the last reform in 1924 until 2011, successive installations have enabled the review of the collection with the aim of improving and providing them a more suitable presentation. Moreover, the efforts for the conservation of these art works are parallel to a constant scientific research. We have emphasized that research aimed to study the technical aspects and materials, often applied, for the moment, to the knowledge of the most representative groups of art works such as Sant Climent of Taüll, and Santa Maria of Sigena, but also Sant Joan in Boí and Sant Quirze of Pedret.
LAÏCS, NOBLES ET PARVENUS DANS LA PEINTURE MURALE À ROME DU VIIe AU XIIe SIÈCLE
This paper begins the panorama in the first half of the eight century, with the representations of high officials in the church of Santa Maria Antiqua, and ends in the mid-twelfth century with the crypt built for the Frangipane powerful family, in Santa Maria Nova. They all are intriguing characters, mostly unknown in history. Their presence in inscriptions and paintings constitutes an interesting research field in which they can be linked with written sources in order to understand the social mobility of leading groups in Rome between the eighth and twelfth century, when old and new aristocracy get closer, and intermediary elite and ecclesiastical entourage get stronger. In addition, the presence, among the patrons portrayed in paintings, of a large number of families, of married couples often accompanied by their children, provides a further element of reflection on the role of women within the family and society during these centuries.
LAÏCS, NOBLES ET PARVENUS DANS LA PEINTURE MURALE DU LATIUM, DU VIIIe AU XIIe SIÈCLE
A journey among images of clients and laic devotees from Lazio begins in X century in San Salvatore at Contignano abbey with the picture – now disappeared – of Ottone II and goes on in XI century in Tuscia with a fragmented picture of a rich noble lady at Christ’s feet near the crypt of St. Peter in Tuscania. Then there is a XII century picture of Petrus de Abbatis, a nouveau rich painted on the lower part of St Biagio in Nepi’s apse and with the inscription of the name of a client and the image of a young devotee kneeling near St Nicolaus in XII cycle of Grotta of Angels in Magliano Romano: Johannes, the client and the young devotee maybe were noble people. Eventually, in Aquino there is a mosaic with two dead noble ladies in Borgo S. Pietro, near Rieti, where in some detached paintings you can see a woman devotee near some fighting knights : again she is a noble lady. All these characters show the historical evolution of society in Lazio, where also women had an important place.
LE PREMIER ÂGE ROMAN DANS LA PEINTURE MURALE DU CENTRE-OUEST DE LA FRANCE
The origin of Romanesque wall painting in France remains unclear. Was its rise at the turn of the eleventh and twelfth centuries the result of a long journey or a revolution? Was it due to the diversity of regional styles or does it back to the Carolingian era? Every piece of painted plaster is needed to solve the problem. The artifacts found in the excavation make it clear that the amount of work produced during the tenth and early eleventh centuries was quite lower than expected but confirm the presence of quality works such as Saint-Solenne in Blois. The technique used is very close to that of fresco painting, with a thin layer of paint being applied. The use of plaster is also common even on a rough surface. Artists worked with blue and cinnabar while green clay was seldom used. In spite of better
documentation for the eleventh century and the prestige enjoyed by Tours, the city falls short of being the main center of mural art in the central western part of France. There were several production centers. The beginnings of the Poitou Romanesque style date back to at least the third quarter of the eleventh century. One should also keep in mind the expressive power and antiquity of the mural tradition in Berry and the artistic autonomy of Limoges.
UNE NOUVELLE GÉOGRAPHIE DE LA PEINTURE MURALE ROMANE ?
Among its ongoing projects, Ars Picta research group is currently focusing on defining a new geography for Romanesque art and characterizing its spread over the Pyrenees. According to Marcel Durliat’s major contributions and to the work triggered by John Ottaway, the Pyrenees mountains are an artistic gathering point and a key crossroad in which, as a great experimental laboratory and living membrane, new forms have been created and specific artistic and iconographic models have been disseminated. In this context, longrange and short range relationships have to be evaluated in conjunction with the impact of circulation roads, inputs of foreign contributions, phenomena of fossilization as well as the expansion into new geographic areas as a result of military conquests (Castilla). The article presents the methodology and some of the results of this ongoing research, mainly the systematic mapping of wall painting and the possibilities it offers in relation to specific examples, such as the representation of the first fratricide and the Rich Man parable.
LA NEF DE SAINT-SAVIN : DEUX ATELIERS, DEUX TECHNIQUES, APPROCHE ARCHÉOLOGIQUE DES PEINTURES
The archaeological survey provides the researcher with a new method for analyzing murals. It consists of studying the technical artistic aspects, providing a graph summarizing the different stages of production and determining a relative chronology of the decorative elements of the overall pictorial design. Through careful tracing, a life-size reproduction of the work is produced whereby it is possible to restore it to its original state and fill in certain iconographic elements that have worn off while leaving the wall intact. During the last campaign for the restoration of the abbey-church’s nave (2005-2008), the CESCM team launched an interdisciplinary research study with the collaboration of several state-funded institutions, restorers and researchers of the LRMH. This program was specifically geared towards identifying the techniques used, producing graphs summarizing the different stages of preparation of paints, determining a relative chronology of the nave’s decorations and thoroughly inspecting their iconography and style. The method has been successfully applied to some scenes raising questions related to iconography and archaeology. Fieldwork has yielded observations that have significantly renewed our understanding of the paintings in regards to their technical, stylistic and iconographic aspects.
CONCEVOIR ET RÉALISER UN DÉCOR MONUMENTAL AU MOYEN ÂGE EN CATALOGNE : L’EXEMPLE DE SAINT-MARTIN DE FENOLLAR
The interest of materiality in medieval paintings can be experienced through studying the works, experimenting with the techniques or by drawing on written sources such as treaties of art technology. The Liber diversarum artium (Ms H277, Montpellier Inter-University Library of Medicine), for example, sheds light on the whole process of training the medieval painter from the 12th to the early 14th century, not only through knowledge of the materials and techniques acquired (laying out of the pictorial composition using tools, tracings or preparatory drawings, the preparation of pigments and binders, the application of gold or silver, the choice of technique of execution, etc.) but also the painter’s ability to implement them. The procedures developed cover a broad spectrum of knowledge and know-how, showing that the execution of a painted decoration could not simply be improvised. Catalan murals of the twelfth century, and more specifically the decorations of Saint-Martin de Fenollar, are illustrations of this.
UNE IMAGE ÉTINCELANTE DE L’ÉGLISE. LE DÉCOR PEINT DE LA CRYPTE DE NOTRE-DAME DE MONTMORILLON
In the church “N. D. de Montmorillon”, the wall painting in Saint Catherine’s crypt, dated from the end of the XIIth century, has been much written about because of the complex thought which presided over their conception. The Holy Lamb, surrounded by the Old Men of the Apocalypse (Ap. 5, 6-8,) appears on the painted string course preceding the sanctuary, whereas on the absidal conch, the Virgin with Child is represented in a mandorla with six holy women. Mary and her Son, crowned by two angels, are welcoming Catherine, a young saint who is in turn receiving a crown held by the Child’s hands. On the circular wall of the apse, two scenes represent the patron saint of the crypt’s “vita”: her quarrel with the fifty pagan philosophers and the martyrdom of the converted philosophers. Within the crypt, we can see both the story of the Church carrying on its development and its fonctions, and the exceptional holiness of the martyr of Alexandria.
LES PEINTURES MURALES ROMANES DE MÜSTAIR (SUISSE)
Murals of the highest quality were produced during the late eighth and early ninth centuries. The sacred Carolingian buildings in Müstair – the abbey church and chapel of the Holy Cross – were fully painted. Although these two major works are touched upon in this article, the focus remains on paintings of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In the eleventh century, Müstair was in a stage of pictorial development during which inscriptions were given a prominent role. In the chapel of Saint-Nicolas, in the abbey and the cloister, there are even several lines of inscriptions without any illustrations. The few murals were meant to highlight architectural elements like the curves below the ceiling of the church and the chapel of the Holy Cross as well as the exterior and interior of the chapel of Saint-Nicolas. It was only in the twelfth century in the chapel of Saint Ulrich that murals (while remaining inferior in quality) were used to draw attention to the stucco décor. In the second half of the twelfth century, a new era of murals emerged which was characterized by series of religious scenes whose boundaries tended to merge. Around this time (at the latest during the first half of the twelfth century) the abbey was replaced by a new convent of nuns. A Christological pictorial sequence dating back to the second half of the twelfth century can be found in a secular area in the west wing. The frescoes in the chapel of Saint-Nicolas create a direct link with South Tyrol where workshops produced high quality paintings. The Romanesque frescoes of the church’s apses were painted in this context. Their expressiveness, pictorial quality and preservation command much respect.
SANTA COLOMA, SANT JOAN DE CASELLES ET SANT MARTÍ DE LA CORTINADA : MISE EN SCÈNE DU POUVOIR DE L’ÉGLISE *?
The rich pictorial Romanesque heritage preserved in the Principality of Andorra has been, for a long time, considered as marginal and residual in the Catalan pictorial panorama. Recent studies however show a different feature: Andorra was not an isolated territory, as it has been thought until today, but was maintaining strong relationships with nearby territories south and north of the Pyrenees. The wall paintings in Sant Martí de la Cortinada (the most important ensemble kept in situ), in Sant Joan de Caselles (with the outstanding Crucifixion, mixing painting and stucco within the same scene), and in Santa Coloma, constitute a strong evidence that twelfth century painting practices in Andorra knew iconographic models at play in the rest of Europe, and were able to adapt them to the walls of their churches.