Sant Quirze de Pedret, Catalonia, Spain, 11th and 12th Centuries

Located in the mountains of Spain,  Sant Quirze de Pedret  is an example of 11th and 12th centuries Romanesque architecture.  Romanesque architecture is characterized by the Roman arch which, during that time, spread throughout the Roman Empire, including Europe. As there were aqueducts built in Europe as far as France, Roman architectural features, such as the arch, likewise were employed for ecclesiastical purposes.

First, some background: the Roman Empire is considered to have fallen in the fifth century A.D. At that time the former Roman Empire, extended well into Europe; it was considered to have entered the “Dark Ages.”  As the name suggests, this was a time in which Roman civilization, including all its arts and learning, was  archived and preserved in reclusive monastic libraries. When Charlemagne was crowned in 800 A.D. as Holy Roman Emperor, Europe is considered to have taken its first steps, although haltingly, out of the Dark Ages, toward a rebirth of classical civilization, imitating in many ways the Roman model some 600 years later. That laster time is known as the Renaissance, which refers literally to a “rebirth of civilization. During that time, Europe began to rediscover classical arts and learning.

Charlemagne, perhaps in an attempt to portray his allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church, a political as well as an ecclesiastical force of the time which had to be dealt with in some degree, began a building campaign utilizing Roman architectural features, notably the arch.  That architectural renaissance extended beyond the area now known as France, north into Britain. Sant Quirze de Pedret is a church built shortly after Charlemagne’s reign but as an extension of that architectural renaissance.  Its arches represent the Romanesque style.  Moreover, it employed early church graphic arts to tell the Christ – story.

Exterior of Sant Quirze de Pedret

Interior of Sant Quirze de Pedret

For video see

See for a sampling of examples and discussion concerning Romanesque art, including a piece from Sant Quirze de Pedret.

See for a video exploration and expert discussion of the gospel story of the wise and foolish virgins.

See for pictures of art work and the interior of Sant Quirze de Pedret.

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