Forum Replies Created
Tamara – you make an excellent point about worship and self-preservation. It really was crazy how those of a higher social rank believed that they could “buy” their salvation. I agree that the churches were lower class members went to worship were probably not impersonal, because their point of worship and devotion was from a completely different perspective than those who did it to “show off” their riches. Thank you for this post!
Miranda – what an interesting connection between religion, devotions, and social status! Such an odd notion to show off social status through religion, but this was really not uncommon during this time period, as you state. Thank you for bringing this up!
I don’t think I would say that churches were becoming more impersonal. If we look at Christianity and Judaism throughout history, early churches and places of worship were sectioned off to where the most holy place of God was separate from the “common” place of the building. In the Gothic cathedrals, there is such a sense of openness and availability of being close to God, that this is almost the opposite of impersonal. Instead of having a relationship with God through the priest or pastor, God is available for personal relationships with this new architecture.
The fact that people would invest in private devotional objects is another key point to show how much more personal religion had become. We have moved away from the Bible only being in Latin, to the Bible being available to even those who were not literate. Just because churches and devotional spaces were becoming more ornate this does not necessarily mean it was becoming impersonal.
That is an interesting point, that the architecture was meant to inspire people to view upwards. I find it so interesting that heaven was believed to be above, and hell below. And this architecture probably does have something to do with reinforcing this notion. What I find interesting is the fact that we have moved from the holiest of places being behind a thick curtain and only a few people were allowed there, to the holy place being open and light and inviting to everyone. This just makes the closeness of God more available to everyone.
Lacey – I agree that there probably was a lot of artistic play involved with the development of stained glass windows. As there was a need for allowing more light in to the space, this did indeed make less wall space for paintings. This is a very interesting point. What I find interesting is that we now have moved away from enclosed, “secret” and holy places, to the holy place being open and light. Quite the contrast.
The trend of large windows with stained glass and the tall, vaulted ceilings created a sense of openness. This openness was majestic to the visitors of the church, instilling admiration. The amount of light that the large windows allowed to be let in to the church also created an atmosphere filled with serenity. The light coming in through the stained glass was often considered mystical or divine (Art History Journal).
This serene amazement and inspiring light and spacious cathedral would inspire a sense of divine magic into the space and the visitors would feel as if they have entered a holy place. There was quite the significance of what is holy, and these cathedrals being of holy essence was a goal of this architecture.
Pilgrimage during the Romanesque period was important because it displayed a belief in salvation and a longing for saving and even sometimes a cure of illness. Many people would go on pilgrimages because it was encouraged as something that would increase chances of salvation. Other would go on a pilgrimage in hopes of being cured of an illness. A pilgrimage was an act of belief, one would separate one’s self from their normal day to day surroundings in order to fully focus on God and His meaning. This was a way of seeking closeness spiritually and cleanse one’s self of sins.
Churches would accommodate this to pilgrims through a layout that helped regulate the traffic and flow of people walking through the church and having shrines for worship set on the side for individuals who wished to visit these. Artwork and objects were also displayed in a way were they were easy to see from many angles, to accommodate many people walking through and trying to visit and see the art/objects.
Tamara – yes! You have a really good point about holy objects being displayed in a way that church goers would easily be able to see them. What is also interesting is the construction and layout of churches also intended to regulate a good flow of church goers through the church.
Raven – you have hit the nail on the head with this one. I really like how you liken pilgrimages to yoga, and the purpose of the two. Pilgrimages were indeed physical acts of prayer, and in a sense a method of placing yourself in a scene without distractions to be able to focus on the contemplation of God and one’s self.
A great example is the The Tympanum of the Last Judgment on Church of Saint-Foy, in France. This speaks of what will happen to all individuals after death, pending their salvation. I can imagine that this imagery was effective in speaking the message of salvation, and encouraging people to repent. Another interesting thing about the layout of the church itself is the cruciform plan, where the building takes form of the cross. Another example of this cruciform plan is the Abbey of Notre-Dame, Fontenay. Although this church is interesting, instead of using artwork to inspire and tell biblical tales, this one is almost void of ornamental designs and images. This is because Bernard of Clairvaux felt that it would distract the monks from being able to carry out their religious duties.
A work of art that I believe had an important role in telling stories was the HILDEGARD OF BINGEN’S LIBER SCIVIAS. There is a book (read BRICK) containing the visions of Saint Hildegard. But this artwork instead speaks the visions in a plain way that one does not need to literate to understand.
All in all, I believe that the imagery, design, and layout of churches during this time were intended for inspiration and telling the tale of salvation through Christ in a simple way that many could understand.
Kaitlyn – great point about the carvings at the Church of Saint-Foy. These do speak a message that encourages individuals to rebuke or even convert them to believe.
Laura – I agree with you that the artwork during this time in cathedrals were intended to tell biblical stories to those who were not able to read. This is probably one of the reasons why art is so amazing, is that it can communicate to so many without using words.
Bob – I thought the Book of Kells was so much fun to look at! I really enjoyed all the little hidden images within it. And I completely agree with you regarding the various manuscripts having many different influences from Classical art – the incorporation of nature into the art, in relation to humans, is indeed very interesting to see.
Thank you for this post!
Miranda – I completely agree that it is ironic that we refer to this time period as the “dark ages.” You bring up many good examples of how cultures were being shared, and how the art during this time was influenced by other cultures. Great post – thank you for this insight!
The manuscripts, books, and gospels, that we have seen from the Celts and Anglo-Saxxons are intricately and beautifully decorated. They are obviously not that easy to read, and honestly remind me a little of an adult Christian coloring book.
In the Classical and Byzantine era, religious art was intended to invoke emotions and inspire people to repent. The message was about the salvation of mankind, and art intended to speak of this miracle. One thing that you definitely can see has influenced the art of the Early Medieval times is the gold, colors, and intricately decorated pages and artwork. If we look at the Illuminated Manuscripts from the Mid Byzantine era, we can see that the thick decorated borders and pastel looking colors are very similar to the manuscripts of the Early Medieval time.
I think the form and function that the Byzantine art heavily influenced on Early Medieval art is that there needs to be an underlying message for the audience to understand. Not everyone could read during this time, so a lot of communications where through images if not orally. The message was of reflection on salvation.