Saturday, 2 February 2013

A Glossary of Romanesque Architecture.

During my search for Romanesque churches in the part of Burgundy (Saône-et-Loire 71) I live in, the site "le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne" with an inventory of most (if not all) Romanesque churches in Burgundy  has been very useful.  Besides, this site (in French) offers a very useful glossary of terms used in Romanesque architecture.

This glossary, written by webmaster Mr. Eduard van Boxtel, contains lots of references to terms one finds in French books on the subject or guide books of the area, in brochures or on the information panels often placed outside churches. His glossary has the advantage (which sometimes turns into a disadvantage) that it Is written in French. 
The advantage is clear: brochures and panels are often written In French as well; hence looking up words can be done on a one to one basis. The disadvantage however is, that if the description is a bit vague, or the reader is not very well versed in French, the reader remains with as many question marks as before he started looking up a word. Apart from that, there are also interesting books or guide books available in English, and in many cases the link between a French term and the corresponding English word is not always very clear.
A very simple example : Romanesque architecture is in England often referred to as Norman architecture, even though Norman architecture can be seen as a "sub" style of Romanesque architecture; the architectural style used by builders who had their roots originally in Normandy.

Bandes lombardes - Domange (Igé)
Another example :  "Bande lombarde" in the French Wikipedia becomes "Lombard band" in its English counterpart. So far, so good. Mr. van Boxtel's glossary gives the following explanation:  "Bandes de faible saillie verticale ou lésènes reliées par de petits arcs". One would think that in such a case one picture says more than a thousand words.
In this blog I will try to translate the entries of Mr. van Boxtel's glossary into English (using Wikipedia as a basis), and to provide each entry with an appropriate picture. In some cases I was not able to find a translation. In those cases I will either come up with some short description covering the meaning, or stick to the original French word. My own humble translations will be marked such:
Arc en mitre (mitre shaped arch ©), whereby © stands for my first name.

References to other entries within an entry are indicated in bold italic

Finally a request: I am only a good willing amateur, and I would appreciate it if errors or additions could be reported back to me. That can be done by leaving "Comments" under the postings on this blog, or simply by emailing to :

Friday, 1 February 2013

Interactive map of Romanesque churches in Burgundy

These are short instructions for use of the interactive maps of Romanesque churches in Burgundy. . This description is entirely based on the interactive map for the department Saône-et-Loire (71), but is als valid for the remaining 3 departments (21, 58 and 89).

The Romanesque churches in Saône-et-Loire

This map is entirely based on a web page , further referred to as EvB, where (almost) all Romanesque churches in Département Saône-et-Loire (71) are inventoried. Only a few churches outside this department are included, basically because they are just outside 71 and because they are normally included in travel guides for this department, e.g. Charlieu -42-, Neuilly-en-Donjon -03-.

A short explanation on how this map works:

1. Symbols

The lefthand side menu contains a number of symbols.

1a. The first symbol, the red house, points to our house, the basis for our tours in search of Romanesque churches in the area.

The basis of this map (71)
Symbol 1a : the red house

1b and 1c. The information symbol i points to general, not necessarily building or edifice related information.

Link to the "instructions for use (71)"
Symbol 1b : the information symbol  i  .
This particlar i gives a link to the "instructions for use" of this map.

Places of interest in and around Cluny (71)
Symbol 1c : the information symbol  i  .
This particlar i points to major places of interest, enabling the user to "jump" straight to a specific town or area (Cluny, Tournus, Brionnais, etc.). From there it is easy to zoom in or out to find edifices in or around the area itself.

1d. Symbols in the shape of various pointers.

The remaing symbols are pointers, in various shapes : upside down drops (called drops) in various colours, with or without en eye in the middle, drawing pins in matching colours, blue question marks and purple cameras. The colours of drops and drawing pins are all related to the rating of the buildings.

The matrix below shows how the various edifices are indicated.
Vertical :
The colours of the markers follow the rating of Eduard van Boxtel's website (EvB).
The dark-blue markers on the lefthandside are used for edifices wit a rating of "6" on a scale of 6, hence for buildings of extraordinary architectural interest (e.g. Cluny, Tournus).
To the right the importance diminishes from "5" (red) down to "1" (dark-violet), where the latter is a building with very few romanesque features (e.g. a window opening, a baptismal font).
The column on the utmost righthandside (purple pointers) indicates that EvB so far has had insufficient information to properly rank the building; they are indicated as ranking "1 or 2".
Horizontal :
The top row (drops with a black eye in the middle) indicates that there are pictures available on the internet. The description of the buildings gives a link to EvB's site only. The rating of those drops runs from "6" down to "2". As soon as as I have my own pictures available, the drop will be replaced by one without a black eye in the middle. In principle the amount of drops with a black eye in the middle should decrease.
The middle row (drops without a black eye in the middle) indicates that there are pictures available on the internet. The description of the buildings gives a link to a Picasa Album of myself, Cees van Halderen (CvH) as well as (sometimes, not always) to a page of EvB's site. The rating of those drops runs from "6" down to "1" and to catagory "1 or 2" (undetermined). In principle the amount of drops without a black eye in the middle should increase.
The bottom row (drawing pins) indicates that there are not yet pictures available on the internet (at least not from EvB or CvH). The rating of those drawing pins falls in the catagories of "3", "2", "1" and "1 or 2". In principle the amount of drawing pins should decrease.

The matrix of pointers

2. Tags or labels

A typical tag (71)

Header and description of a tag

The header contains:
Place or hamlet name. Place names or hamlet names in the side menu are ordered alphabetically, with in case of hamlets the name of the commune between brackets behind the hamlet's name.
Name of edifice.
Rating in stars on scale ranging from 6 to 1 (EvB).

The description contains:
Some particulars about the edifice, if available.
The century the building was erected.
Accuracy of the location on the map.
100% spot on, 90 to 50% reasonable, 0% unknown.
A link to one or more picture albums.
Bourgogne Romane (EvB): gives a short description of the edifice and photographs.
Cees van Halderen (CvH): gives only, but usually more photographs.
Sometimes there is a link to both albums, sometimes to one of either albums.

3. Examples

Some examples of the various entries are given below.
Needless to say, that these are only examples; a drop with a black eye in the middle or a drawing pin could in the meantime have been replaced by a drop without a black eye in the middle.

Edifice with "6" star rating (71)
Building rated "6" out of 6 based on EvB's scale.

Edifice with "2" star rating (71)

Building rated "2" out of 6 based on EvB's scale.

Edifice with "1 or 2" star rating (71)

Building rated "1 or 2" out of 6 based on EvB's scale.
Edifice of which neither EvB nor I have yet photographs or detailed information available.

4. Buildings of which is not even sure whether they are Romanesque at all

Edifice without rating, no pictures available (71)

Building which has no rating (red question mark).
Edifice of which it is not even sure whether it is romanesque at all.
neither EvB nor I have yet photographs or detailed information available.

Edifice without rating, pictures available (71)

Building which has no rating (red camera).
Edifice of which it is not even sure whether it is romanesque at all.
Although I have some photographs available, they are insufficient to qualify the building as romanesque.
People who might be able to clarify this are requested to contact me via email. 

Information can be sent to the following email address:

Niet romaans gebouw (71)
A building of which it became clear that it has no Romanesque featues (red exclamation mark). There are only pictures available on the internet taken by CvH. The edifice is still shown on this map because there is either still a link between this building and another (often demolished) Romanesque building, or because the building is worth visiting despite it not being Romanesque. There are however very few buildings marked thus; at this moment there are only two.

5. remaining departments 

Boundering departement
Finally the map shows a number of "speed limit signs". the figures on display are however not speed limits, but department numbers. The signs with the numbers 21 (Côte-d'Or), 58 (Nièvre) and 89 (Yonne) contain a link to the map of the relevant department; they are almost as complete as the one for department 71. Because romanesque architecture in Burgunduy does not stop abruptly at the present border of this region, the bordering departments (e.g. 01, 03, 10, etc.) are indicateed with their own "speed limit sign". For most of these departments van Boxtel has made a (limited, arbitrary) choice from the romanesque churches in in a belt of roughly 25 km around Burgundy.
N.B.: the partial maps of the boundering departments 01, 03, 10, 18, 39, 42, 45, 52, 69 and 77 are incomplete and onnly give an impression of the area around Burgundy.

6. conclusion

Needless to say that this map does not pretend to be complete. It is virtually impossible to keep two separate sites, i.e. this map and van Boxtel's site completely in line with each other. When the latter adds a photo page to his site this will not automatically mean that this map will be updated as well. However, I think that this map is very usefull for those who would like to find out which churches can be found in a certain area.
Comments are always welcome!