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 :

1 comment:

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