Romanesque art

Romanesque art in France

The creation of enormous monasteries, pilgrimage churches, bejeweled reliquaries, and the delivery of inspiring sermons in favor of the crusades—it all happened here, in France.

c. 1000-1200

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Cluny Abbey
Cluny Abbey

For 200 years, Cluny housed a society of monks and boasted the largest church in Europe. Little from the 12th century remains.

Pentecost and Mission to the Apostles Tympanum, Basilica Ste-Madeleine, Vézelay (France)
Pentecost and Mission to the Apostles Tympanum, Basilica Ste-Madeleine, Vézelay (France)

Above the door to this important church, Christ commands attention—his large scale was new in the medieval period.

<em>Last Judgment,</em> Tympanum, Cathedral of St. Lazare, Autun (France)
Last Judgment, Tympanum, Cathedral of St. Lazare, Autun (France)

In this sermon in stone, Christ presides over the kingdom of heaven. A crowd waits to be judged: blessed or damned?

Saint Trophime, Arles
Saint Trophime, Arles

On the doorway, sinners shuffle to their doom. Beneath, hellfire burns—its brighter, now, thanks to restoration.

Fontenay Abbey
Fontenay Abbey

The location? Remote. The decor? Austere. What this church lacks in ornament, it makes up for in a harmonious plan.

Church and Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, France
Church and Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, France

A gold, gem-encrusted reliquary attracted both pilgrims and wealth to the sleepy medieval village of Conques.

Saint-Pierre, Moissac
Saint-Pierre, Moissac

Lions, prophets, and saints—oh my! The richly ornamented entryway of Saint-Pierre welcomed weary pilgrims to Moissac.

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