jueves, 5 de junio de 2008

Romanesque Painting

Wall painting
The technique used is fresco. It was based on the preparation of the pigments diluted in water with withwash. These pigments were applied to the wall in which a layer of plaster have been given to prepare it. The drawing was done while this matter was humid so once it was dry it acquired strength and resistance.
The same as the sculpture, painting is integrated with architecture. It does not imitate nature but it follows a rational conceptualization. Due to this images are flat, elongated and without perspective. The characters appear in order, with different sizes depending on their hierarchy. Eyes and hands are disproportionate because they are the most expressive parts of these images.
Colours are intense and brilliant (red, yellow, orange, blue) and they are distributed in bands of great contrast among them. Black colour was used to limit the images.

There are not many examples of Romanesque painting even when probably every church was not completed until its walls were painted. In Spain there are two different currents: the Byzantine and the Mozarabic. The Byzantine reached Spain through Catalonia coming from Italy or the English miniaturist who worked in Sicily, while the Mozarabic was common in all the territories of Castile and Leon.
The iconography of the painting depends on the place it occupies. It is common to find the dome of the apse with the depiction of Christ Pantocrator or the Virgin. A good example of this are the churches of Taull. In San Climent the Pantocrator appears inside the mandorle, blessing, his left hand holding a book in which it is written Egon sum lux mundi, this is, I am the Light of the World, and the alpha and omega, first and last letter of the Greek alphabet in both sides. He is sitting on a line that represents the celestial orbit, with his feet standing on a small line depicting earth. It is very stylised, with long face, hands and feet. Colours are flat and are limited by black lines. The way of trying to add some deepness to the image is with black lines. Around him appear the depictions of the Four Evangelists and, at a lower level, the Virgin and Saint, each of them in a niche very irregular. The wall is painted in bands of different colours. In Santa Maria of Taull we find a similar distribution but the top part is reserved for the Virgin with her son and, around them, the Three Wise Men.
In Castile the most important example is the Royal Pantheon in San Isidoro. In this case even the location of the paintings change because there are the vaults of a building. There is a kind of horror vacuii and every single space is full of images. A majority of them are religious, as the Pantocrator and the Angels with the Shepherds. But apart from this, there are also laic images as those of the calendar, depicting people doing the normal agrarian activities of each month. In this case colours are a bit different, with a clear dominium of the red over the rest.
Other supports
Painting on wood was especially developed in Catalonia. It frequently appeared on the front of the altars, in a kind of small altarpieces. It used the technique of the temple. Its iconography is exactly the same as that of the wall painting and so are the colours too.
It existed a painting on paper or parchment. This was different in his thematic from the others. The target readers of books were literate people so they could read the Bible and did not need any simple explanation in paintings. In these books the depictions are more complicated or even courtesan subjects will appear. These books were elaborated in monasteries.

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