Romanesque art and architecture

[porch of the Kelso abbey, Scotland, c.1160] The style which gradually prevailed in Europe from the time of Constantine until the 11th century. It was called Norman in England, and Lombard in Italy. It was characterized by the cruciform church with aisles and transepts, the apsidal chapel, barrel vaulting, and round arches and pillars. In wood-carving, low relief was the prevailing method, and the doors of the Cathedral of Spoleto in high relief are the greatest achievement of Romanesque carving. Art of this period shows preference for colored effects by gilding and painting. In metal work cloisonne enamel was used, plastic ornamentations in silver became more common, and secular types of decoration were used on ecclesiastical articles. Sculpture in stone consisted of reliefs subordinated to architecture. Later the portals were decorated with figures. The most perfect examples are in cathedrals of central France.

New Catholic Dictionary

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