Painting a thousand years ago. The Romanesque colours

Who were the artists of a thousand years ago, and what colours did they use? We can answer these questions by combining several lines of study: the new laboratory techniques, the medieval treatises and the research into the parties involved in the creation of the work, ranging from patrons to the artists themselves, and including those for whom the works were intended. Today it is still believed that Romanesque art was very simple and austere, but although the church walls are now bare, during the Romanesque period they were completely covered with intense and bright colours. The walls, the altar frontals, the canopies and even the sculptures that embellished the places of worship were painted in lively colours. The exhibition entitled “Painting a thousand years ago. The Romanesque colours” aims to provide important clues about the identity of these painters and their instruction, who their patrons were and where they obtained the materials that gave colour to their works. This exhibition, organised by the Museu Episcopal de Vic, presents the results of three years of research carried out as part of the project Magistri Cataloniae. Artists, patrons and public: Catalonia and the Mediterranean (11th-15th centuries) by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in collaboration with the CETEC-Patrimoni (IQSR08;UAB) and the Centre de Restauració de Béns Mobles de Catalunya. To obtain the results, several works of art have been analysed, such as The Ribes Canopy, the altar frontals from Puigbò and Espinelves, the altar at Lluçà and the mural paintings of Saint Thomas Becket in Santa Maria de Terrassa, which are the central works of the exhibition.

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