8 Features Of Romanesque Art

8 Features Of Romanesque Art

The Romanesque art was a European art movement included in the XI, XII, and XVII centuries. Generally, its characterization used a specific language, with coherence and realism. They represent various manifestations, including architecture, sculpture, and painting.

Its roots intermingled the movements of Germany, Spain, Italy, and France, and then extended to the rest of the world in time.

Characteristics Of Romanesque Art

8 Features Of Romanesque Art
8 Features Of Romanesque Art

Background Of Romanesque Art

Romanesque art was essentially in response to social and governmental changes in Europe, such as:

  • The arrival of the Capetos to the French throne,
  • The consolidation and diffusion of Christianity,
  • The beginning of the Spanish Reconquest,
  • The appearance and/or diffusion of the Romance languages,
  • Economic expansion and the construction boom due to urban expansion and pilgrimages

Romanesque Art Bases Were Religious

The construction of churches and monasteries characterizes this art. Moreover, it reflects the values of the new feudal societies with strong religious influences.

This movement staged certain values, in art understood as functional: not to be “seen” but to “exist in it and practice.”

It Uses Three Laws

Romanesque art evoked scenes of everyday life in relation to the sacred. Generally, there are three laws applicable to its creation:

  • Functional law. Art must be experienced and lived. Moreover, it also must have a function.
  • Law of the material. The material is an element in itself and not a means: it has beauty. As a result, its meaning allows adapting plans and working in innovative ways.
  • Symbolic Law: Their forms have interpretations and applications accordingly to the objectives. Hence, the churches have high vaults to “better fulfill their spiritual function”.


The materials are not present element, as well as a means for creating. Similarly, its naturalization and naturalness are respected. In this art the use of:

  • Poor materials (such as, porous stone, basalt, volcanic rock, cooked mud and bone)
  • Marble (mostly in monuments, buildings and sculptures)
  • Concrete (covering stone, in a revolutionary constructive method)
  • Stone
  • Wood

Forms And Colours

Additionally, it has multiple colours that give depth to the meanings. Thus, the pieces reflect everyday life in a schematic, conventional and realistic way.

Architectural Elements

Architecture is the main manifestation of Romanesque art. It is characterized by wide pillars composed of many things, such as prismatic cores, semicircular arches, and buttresses in walls that hold vaults and roofs, domes on tubes, semi-circular apses, bent arches, crypts, bell towers, decorative friezes and the inclusion of sculptures.

Sculptural Elements

Romanesque sculpture and architecture have strong linkages with one another. Additionally, these mostly included biblical teachings in stone, wood and other materials. In this case, they include scenes from the life of Christ, fantastic animals, war scenes or everyday life.

8 Features Of Romanesque Art
8 Features Of Romanesque Art

The portraitist sculptures with Greek influences but mainly oriented to highlight the defects and not the beauty stand out. But, the relief sculptures made in large pieces that capture important events or sequences of events.

Importance And Significance

In addition, the movement accompanied the religious growth of Christianity and expanding its notions beyond borders. Thus, Romanesque art stands out as the first major multiple artistic manifestations in Western Europe, of semi-global expansion, including the vast illiterate populations as recipients of the messages.

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