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Romania
Building activity in Romania during the Middle Ages was limited to wooden churches and
monasteries, as well as princely seats or boyar mansions. Unfortunately, most of the old lay
edifices have not made it to present day having been destroyed by time, wars, earthquakes and
fires.
The Scandinavian Countries
By the 12th century the gradual Christianisation of Scandinavia was complete. Christianity had
been permanently established in all the Nordic lands and had brought with it a tradition of largescale architecture. Lund in Sweden gained the first Archbishop of the region in 1103. Lund also
became home to the most impressive of the Nordic Romanesque cathedrals, a style which
dominated from around 1150 to 1250. The rich decoration shows influence of both Lombardy in
Italy and the Rhein region in Germany and demonstrates the developing Scandinavian
connection with mainstream European arts. In Norway the most significant Cathedral built
during this period was the Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen) at Trondheim. The construction of
the Cathedral, beginning in 1070 and spanning the following centuries, is an early example of
how the Gothic would replace the Romanesque. Other examples of this shift can be seen in the
cathedrals of Linköping and Skara.
Spain
12th century Spain remained under Islamic rule but witnessed the loss of more territory to the
combined armies of the Christian kingdoms. Spain became fragmented into small principalities,
vulnerable to future invasion. The art produced during this time reflects the influences of the
coexistence of Muslim, Christian and Jewish cultures. This is demonstrated in the Mudéjar Style
of architecture and decoration that developed on the Iberian Peninsular during the 12th century
and would last until the 16th. Western cultural styles became reinterpreted through Islamic
influences, in particular the geometry dominant in Islamic art was reworked into tiles,
woodcarvings, brickwork and ornamental metals, bringing walls and floors alive with design.
Distinctive characteristics of this style were its use of brick and complicated tiling patterns,
unsurpassable in sophistication. Many of these styles continued to be present in Spanish
architecture. Northern Spain also produced some of the most splendid Romanesque wall
paintings: Spanish artists favoured formal symmetrical and hieratic compositions and strong,
barely-modulated colours and the human form with its drapery became more idealised and
abstracted than in other European painting of the time. In the 11th and 12th centuries many of
the forms developed by the Romanesque schools of the south of France were adopted for
Spanish churches on the pilgrimage route from France to Santiago de Compostela: The barrel
vault was generally used over the nave, and groined vaults covered the side aisles. Typical
examples include the collegiate Church of San Isidoro at León (11th cent.), the Old Cathedral at
Salamanca (begun c. 1140), and the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela (c. 1075–1128), one
of the most popular pilgrimage churches of the period and the most grandiose of the Spanish
Romanesque buildings. Subsequent remodelling has obscured its original appearance.
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