Architectural sculpture, virtually abandoned for five hundred years following the demise of the Roman Empire, was revivified on the portals of Romanesque churches in eleventh and twelfth-century France and Spain. Long overdue is a reappraisal of those images whose aesthetic of rendering the invisible visible establish them as valuable witnesses to the culture of Europe in the Middle Ages. Countless losses, mutilation through wilful destruction, centuries of accumulated grime, and a dearth of studies in English have impeded the deserved realization and appreciation of these magnificent works of art. Through illustration and illuminative interpretation, Romanesque Sculpture An Ecstatic Art fills the void by tracing the beginnings, maturation, and efflorescence of monumental sculptured facades in the short-lived Romanesque era. Depictions on them are mirrors of the age: sophisticated theological messages, monastic life, the cult of relics, pilgrimages, crusades and politics. The survey considers too the sculptors, mostly anonymous, who in adapting models from several media - both antique and current - created a unique visual vocabulary. The beauty of the sculptures comes to the fore. The stones live!
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