The Dignified Beauty of the Romanesque

These images of the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph will be delivered to Our Lady of the Rosary Church tomorrow for installation in the present church and eventually to go into the new church.

Why did I choose these images? First of all, they are modern and original, yet evocative of the Romanesque period–in which our new church will be built. Romanesque is a transitional form of architecture from the early Christian and Byzantine into the early Gothic and high Gothic. As such it holds together two very important periods in the church–the early pre-medieval church and the glorious Gothic of the high middle ages.

In doing so it pulls together two important cultural periods and artistic traditions. The art of the early medieval and Romanesque period still retains the stylized postures and graceful forms of the iconography of the early church, but it is moving towards the more naturalistic or ‘realistic’ style that would follow in the later middle ages and Renaissance.

Furthermore, the Romanesque style of art and architecture holds together not only the early church and the medieval church, but it is a fascinating bridge between East and West. Springing from Italy and France, it has its roots in the Byzantine of the East in places like Ravenna and Tuscany, but it is also reaching out to the Western tradition, and from there it will develop into the early Gothic.

I have chosen the Romanesque style because it is also works very well for modern Catholic worship. It is suitably austere, and yet expresses the beauty and transcendence of our Catholic worship. Finally, I believe the Romanesque is a suitably ‘universal’ form of Catholic architecture. It has remained a living tradition within the church for a thousand years, it has travelled well and adapted to different cultural settings and it should therefore offer a strong and vibrant home for Catholics from many different ethnic and cultural traditions. Go here and check the left sidebar for more about these new images.

  • Rachel Gray

    Thanks for the art lesson, Father! I think the statues are everything you say and they look great.

  • Bryan

    Very, very excellent

  • Matthew M

    Me too! Really like these statues. Who produced them? I could really get used to ecclesiastic art like this.Now I have a name for what I like in Western Art – Romanesque!

  • scmachines

    Simply excellent.