Italian Arts - Early Middle Ages and Romanesque

Italian art refers to the art on the Apennine peninsula and Sicily, created since the early Middle Ages on a soil rich in Greek, Etruscan, Italian, Roman, early Christian and Byzantine cultural heritage. The lack of political unity up to the 19th century favored the formation of several independent art centers, which competed with one another in tense contrasts and caused the extraordinary diversity of Italian art. While between the 8th and 13th centuries – in addition to the ancient tradition that is always present especially in Tuscany and Rome – Byzantine, German and French influences were decisive in northern Italy, Byzantine and Islamic influences in Venice and southern Italy, an artistic one took place around 1300 Renewal takes place, which meant the beginning of an Italian art in the real sense. With the beginning of the early Renaissance (around 1400), Italy took on the leading role in European art, which lasted into the Baroque period. In the 20th century, Italian art again made important contributions with Futurism, Pittura metafisica, Arte povera and Transavanguardia. For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Oxfordastronomy.

Architecture: Until the middle of the 11th century, Italian architecture stuck to the type of early Christian basilica, but it also handed down the central building that is common for baptisteries. One of the few surviving examples from the early 11th century is the cathedral in Torcello (1008 ff.), Which follows the Ravennatic type of the transeptless columned basilica with an open roof. The elongated storage of the building masses without plastic wall structuring does not differ from early Christian ideas about building and space, which also survived in the special landscape forms of the late 11th and 12th centuries. In Tuscany, traditional ground and elevation forms were combined with a new style of decoration. Colored marble incrustation gives a group of buildings around Florence a geometric surface pattern, which combines with antique columns, pilasters and cornices to form a pseudo-architecture of high surface appeal (Florence: Baptistery, around 1059–1150; San Miniato al Monte, 11th and 12th centuries). This style, known as the Proto-Renaissance, gave decisive impulses to the architecture of the early Renaissance. A second group around Pisa (cathedral, 1063 ff.), Lucca and Pistoia is characterized by a decoration system with horizontal stripes of different colored marble and facade structure with superimposed dwarf galleries.

The churches of Lombardy (Como, Sant’Abbondio; Milan, Sant’Ambrogio; Pavia, San Michele), Veneto (Verona, San Zeno Maggiore) and Emilia-Romagna (the cathedrals of Modena, Parma and Ferrara) show in the The formation of cross vaults, the structure with pilaster strips and round arch friezes as well as dwarf galleries are closely related to German and Burgundian buildings. Sant’Abbondio in Como is the only early medieval Italian church building to have two towers integrated into the floor plan, otherwise the first in the 9th century is the Ravennatic churches, in the 11th century San Michele in Pavia, in the 12th century Sant’Ambrogio in Milan added bell tower (campanile) free.

The facades, which are presented as a display wall without reference to the interior, are typically Italian. While Venice followed purely Byzantine influence with the new construction of San Marco (1063 ff.), A monumental dome over a Greek cross, the early Christian basilica type remained exemplary in Rome in the 12th century and was respected during renovations and renovations. In southern Italy and v. a. In Sicily, Byzantine, Lombard and Norman influences mixed with the refined art of jewelry of Islam (Bari, San Nicola, 1087 ff.; Dome von Monreale, 1174 ff., and Cefalù, 1131 ff.; Palermo, Cappella Palatina, 1131–43, and Martorana, 1143-51). – Tower-like defensive structures (gender towers, e.g. in Pavia) and tower-reinforced palazzi appeared in secular architecture.

Sculpture: One of the most important works of Carolingian art is the gold altar by the master Wolvinius in Sant’Ambrogio, Milan (around 840). In the Romanesque style in northern Italy in the 12th century, an important figurative building sculpture developed, which in the Gothic, in contrast to France, never gave up its physical statuary in favor of the structural connections. It can usually be linked to artist names through inscriptions: Wiligelmus of Modena (reliefs of the Cathedral of Modena, 1099), Niccolò (main portal of the Cathedral of Ferrara, 1135) and B. Antelami (Parma, Descent from the Cross in the Cathedral, 1178, and architectural sculpture of the Baptistery, 1196 ff.), Who already dealt with the French Gothic in his relief art. Bronze doors (Verona, San Zeno; Dome of Pisa and Monreale by Bonanus of Pisa; Dome of Ravello, Monreale and Trani by Barisanus of Trani), ambon and pulpit (Cagliari, Dom, 1159–62 by Master Guglielmo; Milan, Sant’Ambrogio) and bishops’ chairs (Bari, San Nicola).

Painting: Examples of early medieval wall painting, which continued the early Christian tradition in extensive cycles, have been preserved in San Lorenzo in San Vincenzo al Volturno (between 826 and 843). The juxtaposition of late antique illusionist tendencies and Byzantine rigor makes it difficult to date the wall paintings in Castelseprio (7th – 10th centuries, dating disputed). The frescoes of San Clemente in Rome (around 1080) show their own narrative accent, but in general the Byzantine influence took hold in the wall paintings (including frescoes of the basilica in Sant’Angelo in Formis, late 11th century) and in the mosaics of the 12th century Century in Sicily (including Palermo, Cappella Palatina; Martorana) and Veneto (Venice, San Marco, and Torcello, cathedral) to. Byzantine in the 12th and 13th centuries, the v. a. important panel painting in Lucca and Pisa; characteristic are cruciform panels with the crucified and small-figure side scenes. From the middle of the 13th century, Siena and Florence took over the leadership (Coppo di Marcovaldo et al.), Especially with large-format Madonna panels, which, with a common Byzantine basis (indeterminability of space, contoured figures in rhythmic arrangement), already reveal the artistic contrasts of the two cities in the late work of the two main representatives: Cimabue in Florence achieved clarity and plasticity in Form structure, Duccio di Buoninsegna founded the Sienese school with richly nuanced colors and a flexible flow of lines.

In the last third of the 13th century, painting began to break away from the maniera greca, the Byzantine line style that tended to solidify formulas. Incidentally, both painters were active in both Florence and Siena, Assisi was also important with the paintings of San Francesco (including Cimabue, Giotto, J. Torriti) and Rome (P. Cavallini, frescoes in Santa Cecilia, mosaics in Santa Maria in Trastevere), although the relationship to Giotto is not clearly clarified due to uncertainties in the dating.

Italian Arts - Early Middle Ages and Romanesque