The tympanum is the region between the lintel above a doorway and the arch above in Romanesque architecture. Tympana above church gates in Europe were embellished with complex and sophisticated relief sculpture throughout the 11th and 12th century. This form of art was created primarily for religious buildings by artists who worked in workshops under master sculptors.
Some churches have retained their original artwork, while others have had parts or all of the tympanum destroyed to make way for stained glass windows. The remaining fragments serve as memorials to the people who lived before modern technology made it possible to recreate parts of the ancient world with great accuracy.
In addition to its artistic qualities, the structure of the tympanum served an important purpose: It allowed rain to drain away from the building. Before the advent of plastic sheeting and other means of preventing water damage, any building more than two stories high would need some kind of drainage system. The tympanum provided one such solution: a hollow shell that contained pipes leading to small openings at the bottom corner where they exited through the wall. As long as these holes remained unobstructed by dirt or debris, water could escape from around objects standing on the platform and enter through the ground floor into conduits waiting to take it away.
Major examples of tympana in classical architecture and classicising styles from the Renaissance onwards are usually triangular; in Romanesque architecture, they have a semi-circular shape, or the shape of a thinner slice from the top of a circle, and in Gothic architecture, they have a more vertical shape, coming to a point at the top. The tympanum provides an opening through which light enters the narthex (portal) of a church.
The word "tympanum" comes from Greek τύμπανον (týpanon), a frame that covers something like a window or hole. It was originally used to describe the semicircular metal mold in which glass vessels were cast, but it came to be applied to any similar mold or casing. For example, the term "tympanic membrane" means the thin shell of tissue that covers the middle ear.
In classical and Christian art, the tympanum is found primarily on religious buildings, especially churches. It often serves as the main entrance to the building. Sometimes there are other openings beside the tympanum for lights to enter from outside or for music to enter from inside the building. Windows with lancets or triangles are common features of medieval and early modern English buildings, particularly in London where the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed much of the city and left few old buildings intact. Some of these windows may have had decorative wooden shutters attached to them when they were not in use.
The late Romanesque and Gothic architectural movements emphasized fenestration and openness. Pictorial stained glass windows became a prominent art form and, in Northern Europe, the most important single element in church decorating at that time. The first known picture of an illuminated manuscript is now in the British Library and dates from about 1150. It shows pages from the Bible with colored illustrations.
During the 12th century, as liturgical poetry developed, texts began to be illustrated with painted images. By the 13th century, entire cycles of stories were being told through pictures alone. These images could either be placed inside religious books or attached to the wall of a chapel or cathedral. They could also be found in large windows for all to see.
In English and Welsh cathedrals, the work was mainly done by foreign artists brought over by the monarchs. But in France there were local artists who worked in the new style of painting with colors applied directly to the glass.
In Germany, Austria, and Italy, craftsmen working under master painters produced the paintings themselves. They used simple shapes and bright colors to tell biblical stories in a way that would catch the eye of the faithful as they came into contact with the window.
These are just some examples of how stained glass was used during the Romanesque and Gothic periods.
Which of the following is a feature of Romanesque cathedral gateway sculpture? They are carved in great relief yet have a flattened overall look. The term "portal sculpture" is used to describe the large-scale decorative sculptures that were placed just inside the entrance doors of medieval churches, particularly royal or major Cathedral gates.
The word "sculpture" itself is an interesting choice. These figures are not made of stone, but rather wood, which would later be painted to look like stone.
The term "portal sculpture" comes from the fact that they were often placed just inside the entrance door of a church or cathedral gate leading into the sacred space within. They served as visual barriers, preventing people who weren't invited from entering the holy area.
The most famous example of early Gothic cathedral sculpture is the Portal of Saint John Church in Cologne (c. 1230-50). It shows the life of Christ and includes many other biblical characters.
This sculpture was created by artists from France and Germany who wanted to show that God is sovereign over all nations and cultures. So instead of creating art that was unique to the English or French people, they decided to use what already existed around them and interpret it in their own style.
Which of the following statements best defines gateways in Romanesque cathedrals? They are carved in great relief, yet have a flattened overall look. The word "portal" comes from the Latin word porta meaning "doorway". Portals were often large openings with decorative wooden frames and glass or stone panels. Today, they are often just referred as "gates".
Gateways usually had attached towers called campaniles that served as watchtowers for warning people of danger. At night, candles or torches inside the campanile would be lit to help guide travelers through the dark.
The three main types of gateways found at Romanesque sites are central portals, side portals, and entrance gates. Central portals are the largest of the three types and open up into large halls or cloisters. They are usually divided into two sections: an outer section that consists of four columns supporting a gabled roof and an inner section that has only three columns. The outer section provides more space for visitors to walk through while the smaller inner section allows for more detailed carving on the walls.
Side portals are located on each side of a church entryway and open up into side chambers or passageways. They usually have flat ceilings made of wood beams or plaster covered by tin or sheet metal.
Romanesque architecture combines elements of Roman and Byzantine architecture as well as other local traditions. It has monumental quality, thick walls, round arches, robust piers, groin vaults, big towers, and symmetrical layouts. The period's art was distinguished by a strong style in both painting and sculpture.
The name "Romanesque" is derived from the French word for Rome, which is also the source of our word "Roman." This architectural style came into being in Europe following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476. During this time, many churches were built using materials available within the region. They show an influence from ancient Rome but also have features unique to their own culture. Churches such as those in France, Belgium, and Germany exhibit some similarities, although each region developed its own flavor over time.
This article focuses on Romanesque architecture. For more information on Romanesque art, visit my article on Romantic art. For more information on Romantic music, visit my article on Romantic music.