Thursday, January 10, 2013

Romanesque Medieval (pt. 3)

In the center of each town was a church.  Religion became an essential part of everyday living.  Churches' lavish decorations and designs were a testimony to the institution's power.  Pilgrimages became a common phenomenon—these were journeys to a holy place, usually done to pay homage to saints and relics in far-off churches.
The church design remained the same as it had been.  A transept, which was another aisle that cut directly across the nave and side aisles, was in common use by now, and ambulatories were added (an aisle curving around behind the main altar).  You'll note that the plan of a Romanesque church looks like a cross from a bird's eye view (or, perhaps, from a "heavenly" perspective).
The church of Saint Sernin, in Toulouse, France, is typical of the Romanesque style.  Its exterior is large and solid, a real "fortress of the Lord," and its interior is spacious, with dark lighting and a gloomy atmosphere meant to produce penitence in the hearts of visiting sinners.

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