medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
From: Marjorie Greene <[log in to unmask]>
> Merci, Emmanuel! Je me demande si art-roman.net comprend Saint-Aignan dans
"l'Ile-de-France." On verra.
it is perhaps significant that there is no "Ile-de-France" section on this
though that is a bit extreme, since there is, indeed, quite a bit of surviging
"romanesque" architecture and (particularly) sculpture in "l'Ile-de-France",
even if it is defined very narrowly as the region around Paris.
one just has to dig pretty hard to find it, is all.
From: Emmanuel PIERRE <[log in to unmask]>
>J'ai fait une demande pour aller photographier Saint Aignan, j'attends la
it appears that it has now been returned to the Cult.
but, at least we can see the thing now --as late as the '80s it was still in
private hands (owned by a fellow who lived on the Riviera, i was told),
inacessible to the public and virtually unpublished.
the first real publication of it came with:
Johnson (Danièle), "La chapelle Saint-Aignan à Paris", Bulletin Monumental,
1999-3, p.283-299. 18 ill.
which i assume coincided with its restoration and renovation.
> L'Ile de France romane est atypique comme le rapelle souvent CC,
pour la pluspart des gens les clochers sont gothiques, Saint Aignan
est une trace réelle d'un roman plus primitif.
i don't know that i would describe "romanesque" in the region around Paris as
"mal connu" would be better, perhaps.
this has led some art hysterians to suggest that the area was actually devoid
of significant monuments --architecture, sculpture, whatever-- in the
but this is clearly a nonsense, implying as it does that an important city and
region were simply waiting around in sterile inactivity for the "gothic" style
to be born, full blown, from the forehead of St. Suger (whose cult, though not
officially recognized by the church, was and is alive and well among the art
this was a common opinion, expressed in the older literature (including
Jansen's universally influential --and equally unfortunate-- _History of
Art_); but in recent decades it has given way to a more Fact-Based and
one has only to stroll through the nave of St. Germain-des-Pres (ignoring, if
possible, the garish 19th c. "restorations") to see that 11th c. Paris was
fully capable of creating buildings --complete with elaborate sculptural
ornamentation-- in the early and mid-11th c. on a scale and of a quality which
could rival any elsewhere in France.
(these are a bit later:)
some surviving 11th or very early 12th c. capitals from the important church
of Ste. Genevieve (which also had a connection with Stephen of Garland) tell a
and, somewhat later, but certainly not "gothic":
the real problem with trying to assess the state of building and architectural
sculpture in the region is, of course, the fact that once the "gothic" style
took hold it rapidly spread throughout the Royal Domain (and well beyond),
riding on the wave of economic boomtimes and political stability which allowed
for the total or partial rebuilding of literally hundreds of pre-existing
churches as well as a great many _de novo_ foundations:
in many of these buildings one can, with some close looking, ferret out the
remaining older bits here and there and, with an active imagination,
reconstruct what the earlier building might have looked like in its "pure",
i have left aside the very tricky issue of the whole idea of the "gothic"
being simply a Modren Construct which has Tainted, Tyrannized and Enslaved
Art Hysterical minds for generations now.
i have --rarely-- heard the view that the "early gothic" of the Soissonais
(which was really the Berceau of the Style rather than the Parisis) is
actually better understood as the indigenous "romanesque" of that region.
this strikes me as a superbly reasonable and liberating approach.
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