Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


19.10.08
  Ancient Beauty Shines Again

I mentioned in the post below that the renovation of Lippoldsberg Abbey Church is completed inside as well. The pillars have been sandblasted and are now a nice cream colour, showing the original stone structure, the walls and ceiling vaults have been whitewashed.

Lippoldsberg Church, main nave

Lippoldsberg Abbey Church is a fine example of pure Romanesque style in the basilica structure. Since the light comes mostly through the upper windows, the illumination of the main nave gets this ethereal atmosphere, despite the heavy pillars and massive walls.

View towards south aisle and upper windows

In Mediaeval times, churches usually were painted, but in case those frescoes are lost today, the renovation process either involves cleaning the stones or apply a neutral white colour. Though there are examples of mostly 19th century Mediaeval-ish paintings that are today considered history and have to remain. Fortunately, Lippoldsberg has none of those.
 
Comments:
Not sure I like the whitewashed look. Kinda makes it look like my high school, big and impersonal...
 
Lightens it up nicely though. I found that some churches, say, YorkMinster, are really dark. Others, like Wells Cathedral, are made from light honey coloured stone, and are easier to walk around in. I found the churches in Brussels dated back to the Roman times and were uniformly dark to the point of being oppressive.
 
I've visited this summer in Portugal a similar church as interior aspect, Mosteiro de Alcobaca. Even though the interior was simple, compared with other churches or cathedrals, and it was austere the Monastery was pretty impresive.
 
Constance, it has a nice, quiet aura, no matter what colour the walls. ;)

Stag, the Roman stuff needs some sandblasting, I suppose - except if it's the Porta Nigra in Trier which would not longer fit its name if it shone in ancient splendour.

Dark Wolf, the simple Romanesque style often has a stronger effect on my that the flamboyant Gothic places.
 
Being so plain gives it a lovely serene and tranquil look.
 
I think it's important to understand that the Germans have created an entirely new aesthetic in their method of renovating of Romanesque monuments. These churches were orginally dark, colorfully painted, full of cultistic regalia and decoration. Today they are light, airy, monochrome, and zen-like in their meditative simplicity. We should really be talking about a New Romanesque style.
 
German churches have such a different look and ambience to British ones - it's so interesting to see. There's something about this architecture that seems very clean and light (yes, I know that originally they were probably decorated differently and more colourfully - but so were the British ones).

Even so, the pictures really get over the effect of peace and calm and a simple, elegant beauty.
 
It looks like they've done a good job with the restoration. I like the whitewashed look.
 
It is a tranquil place, Carla. The churches at Lippoldsberg and Bursfelde are places where I sometimes simply sit. :)

Jim,
most of those churches are Protestant, and they started taking all those cultic regalia out long ago. You'll find a lot more of that gilded stuff in places like Munich. Medieaveal fresoces have been painted over in most churches, and in the 19th century, interest in the past not only led to renovations but also reimaginations (a new layer of frescoes, for example). These days, if no Medieaval paintings can be rediscovered, churches are mostly renoveated in stone or whitewashed, except in cases where the Neo-Romanesque paintings are of good quality. We no longer strive to recreate the past, only to preserve it.

Lady D,
another reason for the difference is that I've presented mostly Romanesque churches of late, while the best examples in the UK are Gothic ones. German Gothic churches look a bit different as well - it's a pity I didn't have a digital camera when I visited some of the famous Gothic ones in the Hansa Towns back in 2004.

Shelley,
the church is brigher inside now.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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