First Romanesque

One of the first streams of Romanesque architecture in Europe from the 10th century and the beginning of 11th century is called First Romanesque or Lombard Romanesque. It took place in the region of Lombardy and spread into Catalonia and into the south of France. Its principal decoration for the exterior, bands of ornamental blind arches are called lombard bands. It was characterized by thick walls and lack of sculpture in facades, and with interiors profusely painted with frescoes.

During the first quarter of the 11th century, much architectural activity by groups composed of Lombard teachers and stonemasons (Comacine Guild), who worked throughout much of Europe and Catalan territories and erected fairly uniform temples, some of which still exist today.[1] For a considerable area this process of craft diffusion started in Lombardy and Lombardus became the word for mason at an early period.[2] One might call the First Romanesque style the style of this Italian architectural reconquest.[2] The large promoter and sponsor of this art in Catalonia was Oliva, monk and abbot of the monastery of Ripoll who, in 1032, ordered the extension of the body of this building with a façade with two towers, plus a transept which included seven apses, all decorated on the outside with the Lombardic ornamentation of blind arches and vertical strips.

Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch suggested that what was formerly considered the late form of pre-Romanesque architecture in Catalonia bore features of Romanesque and thus classified it as First Romanesque (primer romànic). The First Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boí were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in November 2000.

The geographical proximity of this Iberian region to the rest of Europe, resulted in depictions of the emerging Romanesque art being brought to Catalonia. While the art failed to take root in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula until the second third of the 11th century, there are numerous examples of its presence in Catalan counties before this time. Though this style may not be considered fully Romanesque, the area contained many of the defining characteristics of this artistic style.

To avoid the term Pre-Romanesque, which is often used with a much broader meaning than is generally suited to refer to early Medieval and early Christian art, and in Spain may also refer to the Visigothic, Asturias, Mozarabic and Repoblación art forms, Puig i Cadafalch preferred to use the term "First Romanesque" or "first Romanesque art" to designate those Catalan anticipations of the Romanesque itself.

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan, Lombardy, brick architecture from the 6th to the 12th centuries
Saint Egidio in Fontanella, Lombardy

List of First Romanesque buildings

Basilica di Agliate, veduta da sud-est
Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo in Agliate, Lombardy near Monza built in 875, considered to be the first church of Lombard Romanesque




  • Church of San Caprasio in Santa Cruz de la Serós (Huesca)
  • Monastery of San Pedro de Siresa (Huesca)
  • Church of San Adrián de Sasave (Huesca)
  • Church of Baros (Huesca)
  • Church of Asieso (Huesca)
  • Church of Binacua (Huesca)
  • Churches of the Serrablo (Huesca), it is debatable whether they are First Romanesque or Mozarab: Ordovés, Rasal, Lasieso, Arto, Isún, Satué, Lárrade, San Juan de Busa, Oliván, Orós Bajo, Susín, Basarán (now in Formigal), Otal, S. Juan de Espierre and San Bartolomé de Gavín
  • Nuestra Señora de la Anunciada Hermitage, in Urueña


List of modern Revival First Romanesque buildings

United States

See also


  1. ^ The Monastery of Santa Maria de Roses of 1022 is the oldest of the Lombard features in Catalonia.
  2. ^ a b Conant, Kenneth John (1959). Carolingian and Romanesque. Yale University Press.


  • Armi, Edson. Orders and Continuous Orders in Romanesque Architecture., Department of Art, University of Chicago. Oct 1975. pp. 173–188.
  • Kostof, Spiro. A History of Architecture., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Chueca Goitia, Fernando Historia de la Arquitectura Española, Edad Antigua y Media Editorial DOSSAT, 1965. Chapter: El primer arte románico. pp. 148–156. ISBN 84-923918-4-7
  • Chueca Goitia, Fernando Historia de la Arquitectura occidental: Edad Media cristiana en España Ed. DOSSAT, 2000. ISBN 84-95312-35-2
  • Yarza, Joaquín Arte y arquitectura en España, 500-1250 Manuales arte Cátedra, 1997. ISBN 84-376-0200-9

External links

Architecture of Denmark

The architecture of Denmark has its origins in the Viking period, richly revealed by archaeological finds. It became firmly established in the Middle Ages when first Romanesque, then Gothic churches and cathedrals sprang up throughout the country. It was during this period that, in a country with little access to stone, brick became the construction material of choice, not just for churches but also for fortifications and castles.

Under the influence of Frederick II and Christian IV, both of whom had been inspired by the castles of France, Dutch and Flemish designers were brought to Denmark, initially to improve the country's fortifications, but increasingly to build magnificent royal castles and palaces in the Renaissance style. In parallel, the half-timbered style became popular for ordinary dwellings in towns and villages across the country.

Late in his reign, Christian IV also became an early proponent of Baroque which was to continue for a considerable time with many impressive buildings both in the capital and the provinces. Neoclassicism came initially from France but was slowly adopted by native Danish architects who increasingly participated in defining architectural style. A productive period of Historicism ultimately merged into the 19th century National Romantic style.

It was not, however, until the 1960s that Danish architects entered the world scene with their highly successful Functionalism. This, in turn, has evolved into more recent world-class masterpieces such as the Sydney Opera House and the Great Belt Bridge paving the way for a number of Danish designers to be rewarded for excellence both at home and abroad.

Caprasius of Agen

Saint Caprasius of Agen (French: Saint Caprais) is venerated as a Christian martyr and saint of the fourth century. Relics associated with him were discovered at Agen in the fifth century. Local legends dating from the 14th century make him the first bishop of Agen, though, as Alban Butler writes, the only evidence to support his existence is the dedication of a church to him in the 6th century.During the 9th century, his cult was fused with that of Saint Faith and Alberta of Agen, also associated with Agen. His cult was also fused with that of Primus and Felician, who are called Caprasius' brothers.

In the year 866, Faith's remains had been transferred to Conques, which was along the pilgrimage route to Compostela. Her cult, centered at the Abbatiale Sainte-Foy de Conques, spread along the pilgrim routes on the Way of St. James. The Church of San Caprasio, built in the beginning of the 11th century, is a First Romanesque church located at Santa Cruz de la Serós, which was on the Way of St. James.

Gammelgarn Church

Gammelgarn Church (Swedish: Gammelgarns kyrka) is a medieval Lutheran church in Gammelgarn on the Swedish island of Gotland. The church is in the in the Diocese of Visby of the Church of Sweden.

Grötlingbo Church

Grötlingbo Church (Swedish: Grötlingbo kyrka) is a medieval Lutheran church in Grötlingbo on the island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby (Sweden).

Jaca Cathedral

The Cathedral of St Peter the Apostle (Spanish: Catedral de San Pedro Apóstol) is a Roman Catholic church located in Jaca, in Aragon, Spain. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jaca.

It is the first Romanesque cathedral built in Aragon (1070s - early 12th century) and one of the oldest in the Iberian peninsula. Its current appearance is the result of later additions and modifications introduced especially in the early modern period (from the late 15th to late 18th century). The cathedral was erected on command of King Sancho Ramírez, who, after renovating in Rome his vassal oath to the Pope Alexander II (1068), had obtained from the latter the right to establish the episcopal seat in Jaca, then capital of the Kingdom of Aragon.

Lokrume Church

Lokrume Church (Swedish: Lokrume kyrka) is a medieval Lutheran church on the Swedish island of Gotland. It belongs to the Diocese of Visby.

Lombard band

A Lombard band is a decorative blind arcade, usually located on the exterior of building. It was frequently used during the Romanesque and Gothic periods of Western architecture.

Lombard bands are believed to have been first used during the First Romanesque period, in the early 11th century. At that time, they were the most common architectural decorative motif for facades in regions such as Lombardy, Aragon and Catalonia. Arches of early Christian buildings of Ravenna, such as the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, have been suggested as the origin of Lombard bands.


Lomello is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Pavia in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 50 km southwest of Milan and about 30 km west of Pavia, on the right bank of the Agogna. It gives its name to the surrounding area, the Lomellina.

Lomello borders the following municipalities: Ferrera Erbognone, Galliavola, Mede, Ottobiano, San Giorgio di Lomellina, Semiana, Velezzo Lomellina, Villa Biscossi.


Lárrede (Aragonese: Larrede) is a locale in Spain, today a part of the municipality of Sabiñánigo in the province of Huesca, comarca of Alto Gállego, in the autonomous community of Aragón. It is 822 meters above sea level and had fifteen inhabitants as of 1999.

The church of Lárrede, dedicated to Saint Peter (San Pedro), was built in the 1050s in the First Romanesque style. It is the representative church of the famous Churches of the Serrablo, sometimes said to be constructed in the estilo larredense. It has a cruciform plan, unique in the Serrablo, and five south-facing windows, while almost all churches in the Serrablo have three. It was designated a national monument in 1931.

Robert of Jumièges

Robert of Jumièges (died between 1052 and 1055) was the first Norman Archbishop of Canterbury. He had previously served as prior of the Abbey of St Ouen at Rouen in Normandy, before becoming abbot of Jumièges Abbey, near Rouen, in 1037. He was a good friend and adviser to the king of England, Edward the Confessor, who appointed him Bishop of London in 1044, and then archbishop in 1051. Robert's time as archbishop lasted only about eighteen months. He had already come into conflict with the powerful Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and while archbishop made attempts to recover lands lost to Godwin and his family. He also refused to consecrate Spearhafoc, Edward's choice to succeed Robert as Bishop of London. The rift between Robert and Godwin culminated in Robert's deposition and exile in 1052.

A Norman medieval chronicler claimed that Robert travelled to Normandy in 1051 or 1052 and told Duke William of Normandy, the future William the Conqueror, that Edward wished for him to become his heir. The exact timing of Robert's trip, and whether he actually made it, have been the subject of debate among historians. The archbishop died in exile at Jumièges sometime between 1052 and 1055. Robert commissioned significant building work at Jumièges and was probably involved in the first Romanesque building in England, the church built in Westminster for Edward the Confessor, now known as Westminster Abbey. Robert's treatment by the English was used by William the Conqueror as one of the justifications for his invasion of England.

Romanesque architecture

Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 11th century, this later date being the most commonly held. In the 12th century it developed into the Gothic style, marked by pointed arches. Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman architecture. The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.

Combining features of ancient Roman and Byzantine buildings and other local traditions, Romanesque architecture is known by its massive quality, thick walls, round arches, sturdy pillars, barrel vaults, large towers and decorative arcading. Each building has clearly defined forms, frequently of very regular, symmetrical plan; the overall appearance is one of simplicity when compared with the Gothic buildings that were to follow. The style can be identified right across Europe, despite regional characteristics and different materials.

Many castles were built during this period, but they are greatly outnumbered by churches. The most significant are the great abbey churches, many of which are still standing, more or less complete and frequently in use. The enormous quantity of churches built in the Romanesque period was succeeded by the still busier period of Gothic architecture, which partly or entirely rebuilt most Romanesque churches in prosperous areas like England and Portugal. The largest groups of Romanesque survivors are in areas that were less prosperous in subsequent periods, including parts of southern France, rural Spain and rural Italy. Survivals of unfortified Romanesque secular houses and palaces, and the domestic quarters of monasteries are far rarer, but these used and adapted the features found in church buildings, on a domestic scale.

Romanesque architecture in Spain

Romanesque architecture in Spain is the architectural style reflective of Romanesque architecture, with peculiar influences both from architectural styles outside the Iberian peninsula via Italy and France as well as traditional architectural patterns from within the peninsula. Romanesque architecture was developed in and propagated throughout Europe for more than two centuries, ranging approximately from the late tenth century until well into the thirteenth century.

During the eighth century, though Carolingian Renaissance extended its influence to Christian Western Europe, Christian Spain remained attached to the traditional Hispano-Roman and Gothic culture, without being influenced by European cultural movements, until the arrival of the Romanesque.

Romanesque architecture spread throughout the entire northern half of Spain, reaching as far as the Tagus river, at the height of the Reconquista and Repoblación, movements which greatly favoured the Romanesque development. The First Romanesque style spread from Lombardy to the Catalan region via the Marca Hispánica, where it was developed and from where it spread to the rest of the peninsula with the help of the Camino de Santiago and the Benedictine monasteries. Its mark was left especially on religious buildings (e.g. cathedrals, churches, monasteries, cloisters, chapels) which have survived into the twenty-first century, some better preserved than others. Civil monuments (bridges, palaces, castles, walls and towers) were also built in this style, although few have survived.

Route Romane d'Alsace

The Route Romane d'Alsace (Romanesque Road of Alsace) is a tourist itinerary designed by the Association Voix et Route Romane to link both the well-known and the more secret examples of Romanesque architecture of Alsace, in an itinerary of 19 stages, linking churches, abbeys and fortresses, that range from the first Romanesque structures of Alsace at the abbey church of Saint Trophime, Eschau, into the 13th century, and the beginning of Gothic architecture in Alsace.

From north to south, the Route Romane d'Alsace traverses the Bas-Rhin and the Haut-Rhin, passing through:

Wissembourg: Église Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, Gothic church with remains of a previous Romanesque building (Wissembourg Abbey)

Altenstadt: Church of Saint Ulrich, 12th century.

Surbourg: Church of Saint Arbogast, 11th century.

Neuwiller-lès-Saverne: Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, 12th century, with modern restorations.

Saint-Jean-Saverne: Church of Saint Jean Baptiste, 10th century.

Marmoutier: Church of Saint Martin, the former abbey church of Marmoutier, 12th century.

Obersteigen: Chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin, 13th century.

Strasbourg: Vaulted crypt beneath Notre-Dame de Strasbourg; Church of Saint Etienne, 12th century; St. Thomas, cloister of Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune Protestant Church.

Eschau: Abbey Church of Saint Trophime

Rosheim: Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, 12th century.

Andlau: Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, the former church of Andlau Abbey, 10th to 12th centuries.

Epfig: Romanesque Chapel of Sainte Marguerite, 11th century.

Sélestat: Church of Sainte Foy, 12th century.

Sigolsheim: Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, 12th centuiry.

Kaysersberg: Church of Sainte Croix.

Gueberschwihr: Church of Saint Pantaléon, 12th century.

Rouffach: Église Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, Rouffach

Lautenbach: Collégiale de Lautenbach

Murbach: Church of Saint Léger.

Guebwiller: Church of Saint Léger, early 13th century.

Ottmarsheim: Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, 11th century.

Feldbach: Church of Saint Jacques.

San Caprasio

San Caprasio is a church in Santa Cruz de la Serós, Jacetania, Spain, in First Romanesque style.

Sant Miquel, Cruïlles

Sant Miquel de Cruïlles is a Benedictine monastery in Cruïlles, Monells i Sant Sadurní de l'Heura, Catalonia, Spain. The 11th-century building, in First Romanesque style, was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural landmark in 1931.

Sant Quirze de Colera

Sant Quirze de Colera is a Benedictine monastery in Rabós, Catalonia, Spain. The 9th-century building, in First Romanesque style, was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural landmark in 1931.

Santa Cruz de la Serós

Santa Cruz de la Serós (in Aragonese: Santa Cruz d'as Serors) is a village in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain. Located 88 kilometers from the city of Huesca, it is located at a hill side on the way to the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña.

Santa Maria Maggiore, Lomello

Santa Maria Maggiore is a church in Lomello, Lombardy, northern Italy, an example of First Romanesque art. It includes the oldest cross vaults in Italy.

The oldest document mentioning the basilica is a privilege by pope Paschal II, dated 22 August 1107. Archaeological studies showed that at least two churches existed in the site before the current one, the earliest one being perhaps contemporary to the annexed baptistery of San Giovanni ad Fontes (c. 5th-7th centuries). The basilica has a nave and two aisles with a lower transept. The façade was originally embedded in the city's walls, but later the first three bays were abandoned and a new façade was obtained by closing one of the internal arches with a new wall.

The nave is characterized by arches which, at the sides, have double mullioned windows at the sides. The pillars which do not support the arches are prolonged by blind columns up to the clerestory. The longitudinal arches (those separating the nave from the aisles) are supported by semicolumns which form the pillars. The aisles are a 14th-century reconstruction of the original ones. In 1944 a crypt, perhaps unfinished, was discovered.

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