JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Archives


MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Archives

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Archives


MEDIEVAL-RELIGION@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Home

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Home

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  July 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION July 2006

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Re: Dark Ages

From:

Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Jul 2006 09:36:20 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (213 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

From: Jon Cannon <[log in to unmask]>

> I know one very authoritative current opinion (David Park, who heads up
wall painting conservation at the Courtauld Institute) is that Durham,
and c11 Winchester, and other of the VERY earliest post-Norman
Romanesque English buildings, were unpainted on the interior. I've heard
him say so several times, and he's made the point in print, though in a
very undemonstrative way. 

i like that word: "undemonstrative".

much that passes for "authoritative current opinion" in the world of Art
Hystery might be described as "undemonstrative".

>I think he'd agree some had whitewashed exteriors (York, Worcester - in both
cases perhaps interiors too) 

i've never heard of this --whitewashed *exteriors*.

i recall that the great u.s. architectural historian Robert Branner came to
Indiana back in '67 and gave a lecture to some very gullible first year
graduate students wherein he floated the idea (i don't know whether he ever
published it) that the gilt facades of identifable Parisian monuments (the
cathedral and Ste. Chapelle) which we see in 15th c. Books of Hours were
accurate reflections of *real* gilding applied to the actual buildings
themselves.  

the basic idea was that the Ste. Chapelle (in particular), with its rich, flat
and metal-work-like exterior decoration, was to be seen as a giant Reliquary
and that, as such, gilding it would be quite normal.

memories fade, and i can't recall whether his arguemnts were "undemonstrative"
or not.

but, it's certainly an interesting idea --and learned me how to look at
details in middlevil paintings. 

which was probably the Point.

the whitewashing exteriors reminds me of the appearance of sculpture in much
Netherlandish painting --they are not polychromed (which they certainly would
have been, both in real surving earlier examples and in contemporary ones),
but are rather depicted in a monochrome off-white.

i can't recall the reasons put forward (in a somewhat "undemonstrative"
fashion) in the literature for such a phenomenon.

>All these were given rich coats of paint c1150-1220 when they must have begun
to appear far too severe for current taste. Paint before that, on the
surviving English cathedrals, is a rare thing indeed. 

you're still talking about the *exterior* here?

> It's radical, but if anyone should know, it's him. 

"it is he"

him may know that, but i'd be very interested in his "undemonstrative"
evidence.

>Our assumption of paint could itself be a backwards looking one, casting the
taste of one phase of medieval culture onto another.   

certainly *possible*.

but, i'm not sure that the interior decoration of late 11th c. Anglo-Norman
architecture represents a seperate "phase" from what was going on on the
continent (or in pre-conquest England, for that matter) which, we may assume,
heavily favored painted decoration (assuming that the pitiful few surviving
exemplars such as St. Savin-sur-Gartemp are representative of what we have
lost).

of course, if it can be shown (in a "demonstrative" way) that the early Norman
buildings were, indeed, devoid of decorative interior paint then we do have,
de facto, a "sperate 'phase'" --although it would surely have been a quite
temporary one, witout issue.

but Straight-Line proof is a good antidote to Circularity in Reasoning.

>Those big muscular buildings might really have been meant to look as they do
now, almost Brutalist.  

"romanesque", in general, is more or less "Brutalist".

the term seems to me to be one which may have spontaneously generated itself
in an afternoon Tea Time at the Courtauld --which is not to say that it isn't
useful, or even valid.

as best i can recall, the thick, heavy and Brutal drum columns of the main
arcade of Durham (at least) are decorated with carved elements --"chevrons" or
spirals.

i've always assumed (in an "undemonstrative" way) that these were painted as
well, the carving serving to guide and emphesize the painting, as we
frequently find in the detailed articulation of sculptural drapery.

presumably David Park's hypothesis is based on his not finding any traces of
original polychrome in these buildings.

a good, thorough 19th c. cleaning might have removed all traces of that, i
suppose.


in a slightly different context, it is worth noting that current thinking has
it that the interior of "Gothic" buildings were frequently covered with
paint.

the "old" theory was that it was stained glass --which became such an integral
part of the new architectural style-- more or less "pushed out" the earlier
taste for mural painting, either because it darkened the buildings (this was
in the days before the great windows of Chartres were cleaned and the whole
building brightened considerably) or because the (figurative) paintings
"competed" with the (figurative) windows, somewhat defeating their spectacular
and inherently more dominent effect.

recent work at Chartres (which has been published, somewhere) has led to the
discovery of quite a lot of paint --surviving particularly in the vaults.

it seems that they were painted white, with imitation "stonework" (which did
not follow the courses of the stones themselves) picked out with red lines,
perhaps with some shading.  the keystones and bosses of the vaults (which are
mostly foliate) were also painted and/or gilded.


> I wonder about the rest, too, at this date. Yes to a magnficient shrine
and a carved pulpitum screen. 

you are talking about a carved "pulpitum" (jubé) in England in the 11th c.?

is the evidence for this "undemonstrative"?

>Yes to splashes of textile colour 

puts me in mind of the extraordinary number of examples descriptions of (lost)
pre-conquest textile work which Dodwell was able to unearth (C. R. Dodwell,
_Anglo-Saxon art : a new perspective_. Cornell U.P., 1982. 353pp.  --*Highly
Recommended*).  

the Bayeux "tapistry" did not Suck itself out of its Own Fingers, apparently,
but stood at the end of a very long and rich tradition.

yet more evidence of the massive losses, in all media, which we must,
methodologically, take into account.

> Stained glass was expensive and reserved for windows above altars. 

perhaps.

"expense" was a relative term, however, and when you are talking about the
best endowed ecclesiastical institutions in the country, all of which had
Political Implications, pinching shillings and pence might not have been too
high of a priority.

"Building is the Sport of Kings", an architect friend of mine once told me (he
often uses that line on his rich Texas clients and says that it works, more
often than not).

>No monumental tombs (didn't exist until c12), 

saints' "shrines" are "tombs", aren't they?

"monumental" is a relative term, and what passes for "monumental" in one
period might not necessarily be "monumental" in another.

the earliest shrines/tombs are now, typically, archeological remains (eg., the
tombs of St. Peter in Rome or St. Martin in Tours or St. Lubin in Chartres)
and nothing much has survived in the way of "decoration" --but we can see from
the remains that they were "monumental" in the literal sense that they were
purpose-built architectural structures of some complexity. 

we must re-create in our Mind's Eye the accompanying elaborate painting,
sculptural decoration (probably mostly in stucco) and metalwork which has all
been lost, without either a trace or perceivable echo.

>The building is new: it aint' had time to fill up. Taste is grand but
'clean'.

this would be true of any new building, of any date, i should think.

an interesting consideration.

> It's from c1100 and into High Romanesque that Richness starts: after these
great post-Conquest monster-cathedrals were designed.  

it is one thing to note that "new" buildings were, de facto, "empty" of
"Richness", at least until they "filled up".

it's quite another to posit that this "emptiness" was the expression of some
sort of deliberate aesthetic choice (much less one which was driven by
political considerations).

the burden of proof ("demonstrative", if possible) is on those who would put
forward the latter position, it seems to me.

interesting issues, all.

best from here,
c

**********************************************************************
To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site:
http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/medieval-religion.html

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager