Peintures romanes des églises de France. Nuove riflessioni su Focillon medievista

Author: Annamaria Ducci

Peintures romanes des églises de France. New reflections on Focillon as a medieval scholar

In 1938 the book Peintures romanes des églises de France by Henri Focillon was published, marking a turning point in French Art history scholarship and establishing a new approach to medieval wall painting. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to this book as compared with that devoted to Focillon’s studies on Romanesque sculpture. This essay aims to investigate the main critical elements of the aforementioned book, particularly focusing on Focillon’s interest in the technical and material aspects of painting, as well as the relationship between painted images and architecture. His original evaluation of single artistic personalities of painters and the use of the term maniera in a medieval context are also highlighted. Finally, the new perception of the French Romanesque wall paintings offered by the book, also thanks to its splendid illustrations, is presented. Hence, the critical re-reading of Peintures romanes des églises de France provides an important element for a better understanding of Henri Focillon as a medieval scholar.