Romanesque art refers to the artistic style that emerged in Europe during the Romanesque period, approximately from the 11th to the 12th century. It is characterized by its robust and monumental architecture, intricate stone carvings, and richly decorated religious artworks. Here is a glossary of key terms associated with Romanesque art:

  1. Romanesque Architecture: Architectural style prevalent during the Romanesque period, featuring round arches, thick walls, and small windows. It is often characterized by its fortress-like appearance.

  2. Tympanum: The semicircular or triangular space above a doorway, typically decorated with sculpture or relief carving, often depicting biblical scenes.

  3. Cloister: An enclosed courtyard in a monastery or cathedral, often surrounded by covered walkways with columns.

  4. Pilgrimage Church: A church that attracts pilgrims due to its relics or sacred site. These churches were often large and designed to accommodate a large number of visitors.

  5. Illuminated Manuscript: A handwritten book decorated with intricate illustrations, decorative borders, and elaborate initials. These manuscripts were often produced by monks in monastic scriptoria.

  6. Grotesque: Ornamental designs featuring hybrid or fantastic creatures, often found in Romanesque decorative arts, such as manuscript illuminations or stone carvings.

  7. Transverse Arch: An arch that runs across the nave of a church, dividing it into sections. It provides support for the weight of the ceiling and helps distribute it evenly.

  8. Pisa Cathedral: A prominent example of Romanesque architecture, known for its freestanding bell tower (Leaning Tower of Pisa), which became a symbol of the city.

  9. Historiated Capital: A capital (top part of a column) adorned with narrative sculptures or scenes, often depicting biblical stories or figures.

  10. Cistercian Order: A monastic order known for its simplicity and strict observance of the Rule of St. Benedict. Cistercian monasteries often featured plain and unadorned architecture.


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