- Pre-Romanesque art and architecture
Pre-Romanesque art and architecture is the period in Western European art from either the emergence of the
Merovingiankingdom in about 500 or from the Carolingian Renaissancein the late 8th century, to the beginning of the 11th century Romanesque period. The term is generally used in English only for architecture and monumental sculpture, but here all the arts of the period are briefly described. The primary theme during this period is the introduction and absorption of classical Mediterranean and Christian forms with Germanic ones creating innovative new forms, leading to the rise of Romanesque art in the 11th century. In the outline of Medieval artit was preceded by what is commonly called the Migration Period artof the "barbarian" peoples: Hiberno-Saxon in the British Isles and predominantly Merovingian on the Continent.
Carolingian artis the roughly 120 year period from about 780 to 900 AD, during Charlemagne's and his immediate heirs rule, popularly known as the Carolingian Renaissance. Although brief, it was very influential; northern European kings promoted classical Mediterranean Roman art forms for the first time, while also creating innovative new forms such as naturalistic figure line drawings that would have lasting influence.
German pre-Romanesque art during the 120-year period from
936to 1056is commonly called Ottonian artafter the three Saxon emperors named Otto (Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III) who ruled the Holy Roman Empirefrom 936to 1001.
After the decline of the Carolingian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire was re-established under the Saxon (Ottonian) dynasty. From this emerged a renewed faith in the idea of Empire and a reformed Church, creating a period of heightened cultural and artistic fervour. It was in this atmosphere that masterpieces were created that fused the traditions from which Ottonian artists derived their inspiration: models of Late Antique, Carolingian, and Byzantine origin.
Much Ottonian art reflected the dynasty's desire to establish visually a link to the Christian rulers of Late Antiquity, such as Constantine, Theoderich, and
Justinianas well as to their Carolingian predecessors, particularly Charlemagne.
Ottonian monasteries produced some of the most magnificent medieval illuminated manuscripts. They were a major art form of the time, and monasteries received direct sponsorship from emperors and bishops, having the best in equipment and talent available.
In the 7th century the
Croats, with other Slavsand Avars, came from Northern Europe to the region where they live today [http://www.rastko.org.yu/arheologija/vsedov-slavs_2.html] . First Croatian churches were build as royal sanctuaries, and influences of Roman art was strongest in Dalmatia where urbanization was thickest. Gradually that influence was neglected and certain simplification, alteration of inherited forms and even creation of original buildings appeared. All of them (dozen large ones and hundred of small ones) were build with "roughly cut stone" bounded with thick layer of malter from outside. Large churches are longitudinal with one or three naveslike "church of Holy Salvation ( Sveti Spas)" on spring of river Cetina, build in 9th century. The largest and most complicated central based church from 9th century is dedicated to Saint Donatusin Zadar. From those times, with its size and beauty we can only compare the chapel of Charlemagnein Aachen. Altarfence and windows of those churches were highly decorated with transparent shallow string-like ornamentthat is called " pleter" (meaning to weed) because the strings were threaded and rethreaded through itself. Motifs of those reliefs were taken from Roman art, sometimes the figures from Bible appeared alongside this decoration, like "relief in Holy Nedjeljica" in Zadar, and then they were subdued by their pattern. That also happened to engravings in early Croatian script – Glagolitic. Soon, the glagolic writings were replaced with Latinon altar fences and architraves of old-Croatian churches.
From "Crown Church of King
Zvonimir" (so called "Hollow Church" in Solin) comes the altar board with "figure of Croatian King" on the throne with Carolingiancrown, servant by his side and subject bowed to the king.
By joining the Hungarian state in the twelfth century, Croatia lost its independence, but it did not lose its ties with the south and the west, and instead this ensured the beginning of a new era of
Central European cultural influence.
Anglo-Saxon art covers the period from the time of
King Alfred( 885), with the revival of English culture after the end of the Viking raids, to the early 12th century, when Romanesque artbecame the new movement. Prior to King Alfred there had been the Hiberno-Saxonculture, producing in Insular artthe fusion of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic techniques and motifs, which had largely ceased in Ireland and Northern England with the Vikinginvasions. Anglo-Saxon art is mainly known today through illuminated manuscriptsand metalwork.
After the demise of the Carolingian Empire, France split into a number of feuding provinces, so that lacking any organized Imperial patronage, French art of the 10th and 11th centuries became localised around the large monasteries, and lacked the sophistication of a court-directed style.
Multiple regional styles developed based on the chance availability of Carolingian manuscripts (as models to draw from), and the availability of
itinerantartists. The monastery of Saint Bertinbecame an important centre under its abbot Odbert(986-1007) who created a new style based on Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian forms. The nearby abbey of Saint Vaastcreated a number of works. In southwestern France at the monastery of Saint Martialin Limogesa number of manuscripts were produced around year 1000, as were produced in Albi, Figeacand Saint-Sever-de-Rustanin Gascony. In Paris there developed a style at the abbey of Saint Germain-des-Prés. In Normandya new style developed from 975 onward.
The first form of Pre-Romanesque in
Spainwas the Visigothic art, that brought the horse-shoe arches to the latter Al-Andalus Arab architecture and developed jewellery.
After the Arab invasion, Pre-Romanesque art was first reduced to the
Kingdom of Asturias, the only Christian realm on the country at the time which reached high levels of artistic depuration. (See " Asturian art"). The Christians who lived in Moorish territory, the Mozarabs, created their own architectural and illumination style, Mozarabic art.
The best preserved Visigothic monument in
Portugalis the Saint Frutuoso Chapelin Braga.
Southern Italy benefited from the presence and cross fertilization of the Byzantines, the Arabs, and the Normans, while the north was mostly controlled first by the Carolingians, and then by the Ottonians. The Normans in Sicily chose to commission Byzantine workshops to decorate their churches such as
Monrealeand Cefalu Cathedralwhere full iconographic programmes of mosaics have survived. Important frescos and illuminated manuscripts were produced.
*Joachim E. Gaehde (1989). "Pre-Romanesque Art". "
Dictionary of the Middle Ages". ISBN 0-684-18276-9
* [http://www.circuloromanico.com El Portal del Arte Románico Visigothic, Mozarabe and Romanesque art in Spain.]
* [http://www.turismo-prerromanico.es/arterural/base/PREROM_CABAst.html Spanish Pre-Romanesque Art Guide; Introduction to Asturian Art.]
* [http://www.early-croatian-art.net/Predromanika/index/glavna.asp Preromanesque art of Croatia.]
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