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Archaism or singularity? The Nave Clerestory in Romanesque Architecture between the Loire and Dordogne

Abstract : In medieval Aquitaine, most Romanesque churches where built with single-storey elevations and are barrel-vaulted. Clesrestories are rare, and are generally dated early if relatively unarticulated, as with St-Mexme at Chinon, or are dated late if they carry rib-vaults. However a few naves were also built c. 1100, which are covered with wooden roofs and carry high clerestories. St-Nicolas at La Chaize-Le-Vicomte is a particulary important exemple of the type, where the main body of the building has been recently dated to the 1090s. The speed and conviction with which this was built reflects the wishes of its founder a lord who fought at Hastings. Ste-Valerie at Chambon-sur-Voueize, a priory of St-Martial of Limoges, is more problematic, and the main vessel here has been recently vaulted. This article argues that the clerestory is more than an archaeological curiosity in Aquitaine, and that the adoption of clerestories in a region where they were rare was a meaningful choice. The aim was still to emulate the great churches of Rome , but their Romanitas' was embodied in a different way to that explored in the 'poitevin-type'barred-vaulted hall church.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00873481
Contributor : Vanessa Ernst-Maillet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 4:40:42 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 12:26:02 PM

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Claude Andrault-Schmitt. Archaism or singularity? The Nave Clerestory in Romanesque Architecture between the Loire and Dordogne. John McNeill and Richard Plant. Romanesque and the past, Maney Publishing, pp.95-108, 2013, British Archaeological Association Transactions, 978-1-909662-10-0. ⟨halshs-00873481⟩

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