The Romanesque-era Saint Pierre Abbey and Cloister continues to function to this day in a manner not that dissimilar from its original purpose. Visitors continue to feel a unique bond to the Abbey and its Cloistered spaces—fortunately saved from destruction when plans were made to run a rail line through the area—; a bond of “truth” emanating from the Abbey’s and Cloister’s presence of aesthetic principles of art. Antoine Bourdelle, a twentieth century French sculptor, painter and teacher of the arts, published the following account of Romanesque architecture and its ability to provide one’s mind with “principles of truth” on a “solid foundation of reason” through the sheer magnificence of its formal properties of design. In his 1937 memoirs Bourdelle par lui-meme (translated: Bourdelle By Himself) the author made the following observation: “In a Romanesque church I feel captured and held by the mathematical principles of truth. Romanesque building is simultaneously vision and calculation; under these laws of art, the initiated can build their faith upon the solid foundation of reason.”
What are your thoughts on a Romanesque church being able to provide the faithful, the visitor, with truths from the principles of the structure’s construction aesthetics and the notion that experiencing such a church would or could actually build your faith?
View of Saint Pierre Cloister