Friday, June 02, 2023

The Cathedral of Modena: Part 3 - Romanesque Sculptures

We conclude this series of Nicola’s photographs of the cathedral of Modena with several examples of Romanesque sculpture, and a few other miscellaneous items. The balustrade of the sanctuary, which overhangs the entrance to the crypt,

is supported by columns that rest on the backs of lions. These represent the wildness and chaos of the fallen world, to Christ restored order by founding His church; this is why they are most often seen in church architecture “subdued” in this fashion.
Lions have been extinct in Europe for many centuries, and since artists of the Romanesque period had no real ones to look at, they had to copy them as best they could from ancient Roman sarcophagi. The results are often rather strange. This fellow is having a dragon for dinner...
and this one an unfortunate knight.
Romanesque sculptors were often very clever at squeezing a great deal of detail into the carved capitals on top of a church’s columns. Here we see a representation of the Sacrifice of Isaac.   

Daniel in the Lions’ Den
A wall tomb next to the staircase that leads up into the sanctuary.
An alabaster window.
Many churches in northern Italy have choir stalls decorated with very elaborate designs in inlaid wood, a technique known as intarsia.
An altar frontal for the church’s co-patronal feast of the Assumption.

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