ROMANIC SCULPTURE FROM THE ROMAN-CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL 
OF ALBA IULIA. ORNAMENTAL REPERTOIRE 
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SCULPTURA ROMANICA LA CATEDRALA ROMANO-CATOLICA DIN ALBA IULIA. REPERTORIUL ORNAMENTAL Partea I
ROMANIC SCULPTURE FROM THE ROMAN-CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL OF ALBA IULIA. ORNAMENTAL REPERTOIRE First Part

Author(s): Gheorghe Fleşer
Subject(s): History
Published by: Muzeul Naţional al Unirii Alba Iulia
Keywords: Alba Iulia; antropomorf; arhanghel; atlant; bou; catedrala romano-catolica; caprioara; demon; grifon; înger; leu; masca; motive; pasari; pedeapsa; plastica figurativa; romanic; relief; reprezentari; romanic; sculptura; simbolitica; transilvanean;

Summary/Abstract: Chronologically the manifestations of Romanic art in Transylvania correspond to the Early Middle Ages (Xth-XIIIth centuries) and are directly connected by the extention and organization of the Hungarian feudal kingdom’s domination over the intra-Carpathian regions. The unique and most important centre of Romanic plastic art from Transylvania developed within the Roman-Catholic Cathedral from Alba Iulia. It is possible that some groups of artisans and journeymen might have gone to other churches from Transylvanian localities where they opened contruction sites of more modest dimensions. Ample works assumed the existence in Alba Iulia of some solid teams of stone carvers and sculptors who succeeded or worked concomitantly to the decoration of the church for a long period of time, corresponding to the main stages of construction. The sculpted pieces are disparate and heterogenous, without evidencing obvious evolutive stylistic features, a clear succession along time of the motifs being difficult to establish, phenomenon that excludes the existence of a local school, creator of specific forms. Many resemblances among the sculpted pieces are to be found amongst the representations of this monument type, themes being illustrated on the basis of the same compositional scheme resumed in other variants. As a consequence there were made until now a series of analogies, associations, attributions and chronological framings between different representations. For several pieces the initial destination can hardly be established or intuited although there are known the places preferred for disposing the sculptures at the Romanic monuments, the motifs being conceived for a certain area. In Alba Iulia under the circumstances of total disappearance of the first basilica, any attempt to reconstruct the plastic decor proves to be useless. In the second cathedral lots of pieces preserve their initial place (keystones, capitals) but there are also some reliefs dislocated from their original position and subsequently framed in the monument’s walls, in the inside or to its exterior. Apostoles, the embraced pair, Michael I archangel and Michael II archangel are figures that might have decorated at the same time, the fronside or the exterior walls of the central apse (replaced by the Gothic choire). Iconographically, the figurative reliefs of the Roman-Catholic Cathedral from Alba Iulia, although more numerous than those from other Romanic Transylvanian monuments, the way they present today, isolated on structive elements or moved from their place, cannot be grouped or associated in an iconographic unitary and coagulated programme. Imagistic content and their significance is connected to the religious theme, being focused on the ideea of salvation through faith (reliefs with Maiestas Domini, prophets, apostles, angels, evangelists) but also the temptation of vices and punishments awainting the sinners (demons, scenes of punishment from hell

  • Issue Year: 45/2008
  • Issue No: -
  • Page Range: 99-118
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Romanian