Tag Archives: medieval

The next time you’re in Vézelay tell the people with the elephant ears I said hi

We were all alone in Vézelay’s Sainte-Marie-Madeleine Abbey, the light was fading, darker, darker…and then we climbed down into the crypt.  No, not actually a horror story ending, but in fact the ending to a perfect day, a day we spent from sunup to sundown in and around one of the world’s greatest Romanesque churches. Vézelay […]

Rendezvous with my favorite artist, Gislebertus, at the Cathedral of Saint Lazare in Autun

The stone carvings at the Cathedral of Autun by my favorite artist, French Romanesque sculptor Gislebertus, knocked my socks off, made me laugh, and terrified me all at once.  Listen to me people: this is the real deal, some of the finest art you can ever see.  Sure, I want you to look at the pictures, […]

In which we are ripped off and stood up in Bari, but still enjoy the magnificent Basilica di San Nicola

We arrived in Bari with a long list of sights to check out, beginning with Basilica of San Nicola.  Bari has a reputation for high crime, and the unsavory scene around the train station certainly put us on edge. Since were travelling without a cell phone, I had arranged by email to arrive at a b&b during a certain […]

Bamberg Cathedral’s Last Judgment tympanium: some kings go to heaven, some kings go to H-E-double hockey stick.

See, there’s Christ in the center, with Virgin and St. John at his feet.  Some happy naked people are popping up out of graves under his feet.  On the left, some annoyingly self-satisfied folks are headed to their eternal reward, on the right, well, the facial expressions say it all. I know, I know,  I […]

Gothic sculpture in Bamberg: disputing prophets and apostles, a touch of anti-semitism, and a secret tip

Do you love Gothic sculpture?  Well, what are you waiting for?  Get yourself over to Bamberg, Germany asap, run up a steep hill past all the college kids drinking smoked beer, past the City Hall that may or may not have been designed by Jeff Koons, to the cathedral.  Don’t miss the superb tympanum and the […]

Two crucifixes in Cologne: Gero’s and Gabelkruzifix

The crucifixion of Christ is one of the most predominate symbols of Christian Art, so it’s surprising to realize that, as a form of art, it’s only developed in the last 1000 or so years.  (Back in the early days, when Christians were trying to recruit converts, a symbol of a tortured man probably wasn’t so […]

In which I meet the Bamberg Rider and the attraction is mutual

No one knows the identity of the Bamberg Rider, an equestrian statue in the Cathedral of Bamberg, though there’s no shortage of scholarly speculation.  The other great mystery is why I am so attracted to this statue.  While we were rushing uphill to the church to see him, HOB said to me “Now why is it […]

Tonight I’m sleeping with the monks at Maulbronn Monastery

Tonight we’re sleeping in a monastery ….well, almost.   Our hotel is a bona fide UNESCO World Heritage sight.   It was built here right beside the Maulbronn Monastery in Southwestern Germany (and these days it comes with Wi-Fi) The grounds of the monastery, which was founded in 1147, and the enclosed cloister are strikingly well preserved.  I […]

Art under your arse: carvings under the choir stalls of Notre-Dame de Nantilly, Saumur

Have you read that new book on medieval church art?  It’s called Carvings Under Choir Stalls by Seymore Butts. LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, okay, butt seriously, the next time you’re in an old church with a wooden choir, look under the seats.  See something funny?  It’s not an appropriate space to put a holy image, […]

The cloister of Monreale Cathedral

There’s a certain reaction I have, when looking though an art history book, an “Aha, there you are!” recognition that’s–let’s face it– a sense of entitlement.  I study the reproduction of a building or artwork and say to myself with certainty,  “I am going to go see that.”  Without fail, I have always felt just that […]