The charterhouse of Nonenque: a discussion of an existing medieval nunnery in the context of Carthusian architecture
South African Journal of Art History, vol. 21, no.1 (2006)
The Charterhouse of Nonenque is one of the few remaining charterhouses for nuns in the world. It was built in the 12th century as a Cistercian Abbey and adapted in the early 20th century as a Carthusian charterhouse. In this article the buildings of Nonenque are described according to the plans of the layout after a brief history of the abbey. The structure of the buildings is discussed in the context of Carthusian architecture and also in the context of the Carthusian way of life. Carthusian architecture is shown to be unique in monastic architecture since the Carthusian way of life demands greater solitude than those of the other orders and buildings are constructed to make provision for this. Since Nonenque was adapted from a Cistercian building the measures needed to adapt buildings of other orders to Carthusian needs are discussed. These adaptations are more radical in the case of Charterhouses for monks than in those for nuns. Works of art at Nonenque are discussed briefly.