Tympanum at Vézelay

Today, I will tell you about the sculptural decoration of the tympanum at Vézelay. But first a few words of introduction. The functioning of the Romanesque sculpture was closely related to architecture. It decorated portals, jambs, archivolts, lintels and sometimes spilled over the entire facade. Inside the building, it focused on columns, accumulated on capitals,…

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Phallus & Vulva

The pilgrim and secular badges found by archaeologists unexpectedly teach us how the symbols associated with sexuality were perceived in the late Middle Ages. The secular badges confront us with the aspect of everyday life, which until now remained largely unknown. The written sources were silent about them, and the objects themselves were preserved in…

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Resurrection

This is one of my favorite representations of the moment of resurrection. Its author is the Master Francke, a Dominican artist active mainly in Hamburg. When composing this scene, he seems to be absorbed not only by the mystery of overcoming death. He was also occupied by its practical aspect. Before Christ takes the triumphant…

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Sankt Gallen

This year we celebrate the centenary of the creation of Bauhaus – an art and craft school that has revolutionized thinking about how to create architecture. Its priority was to provide good living conditions. On this occasion, I would like to recall the “prototype” of functional thinking in planning, maybe a bit controversially, from the…

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Mirabilia

I have recently focused here on describing images of monstrous human races in order to understand the mechanism of creating an image of other in European culture. In previous entries, I summarized how the ancient Greeks and Romans perceived the inhabitants of distant lands and how this influenced knowledge developed in the Middle Ages. Today’s…

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Monstrous races & christianity

After a short overview of ancient texts describing the inhabitants of inaccessible lands, it is time for medieval authors. The knowledge of the world developed in antiquity penetrated the imagination of Christian writers. On the one hand, they rejected everything that was associated with pagan practices, but they remained faithful to the belief that monstrous…

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Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan was a French writer and thinker. When she widowed at the age of 24 she was left with no income. Searching for financial support, she began to write ballads for the French court. Fame was brought to her by participation in the debate on the poem “Romance of the Rose”, which showed…

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