From Antiquity to Romanesque
By Peter Hubert
Introduction: Many authorities on Romanesque architecture and sculpture have pointed out the heritage that the artisans drew upon that came down to them from antiquity. This article will contain an examination of that sculptural heritage, focusing particularly on the period of late antiquity. It will then look at what subject matter might have been available and how it was adapted to serve the iconographic and decorative needs of the very different society of the XI and XII centuries. Although the article will draw on examples from across the Romanesque world, it will focus particularly on the sculptures that are to be seen in France and Northern Spain. Somewhat arbitrarily, the article will not do more than touch on other art media, such as frescos, mosaics and manuscripts.