The symbolic component

 

The symbolic component

 

The symbolic component

Romanesque art is marked by symbolism, in such a way that the episodes and characters should be interpreted according to their symbolic value, more than their narrative.  The thematic repertoire is fundamentally based on the Bible and the lives of the saints.  

The themes selected and their location within the church respond to various aims.  First of all, a didactic sense with a view of the faithful, to whom it was necessary to illustrate the essential aspects of the religion: the images are the Bible of the illiterate.  Often the themes appear as a warning of the dangers of falling into sin, or as an image of the fight between good and evil. Worship and liturgy also influence the organisation of the themes, in that they are a reflection of the ceremonies and events that can take place inside or outside the churches.  In some cases a political sense can also be observed, understood as a reference to demonstration of power or as a reference to the rulers.   

But behind the most immediate symbolism of the scenes, there are also other levels of interpretation that weren’t always within the reach of the spectators.  Some topics are difficult to interpret, or appear in points far from the eye of the spectator.