We are all accustomed to see Romanesque and Gothic churches with their austere bone-white pillars, walls, and vaulting and assume this look was the intent of the builders. When modern churches in the classical style are built, they usually follow this aesthetic guideline. The truth is that the medieval churches were often brightly painted with geometric patterns, frescoes, and polychrome capitals. In many churches we can see the remnants of these paintings, like in the Basilique Saint Julien in Brioude, among others. Using these fragments as a guide, modern restorers repainted the churches as they believe they might have existed originally. Whether or not their choices meet with approval, these interpretations give a powerful indication of how these churches may have originally looked.
Here are some links to articles we have written about the painted Romanesque churches.
Église Saint George, Bourbon-l’Archambault
Église Saint Sulpice, Marignac
Église Saint Nicholas, Civray
Basilique Saint Austremoine, Issoire
Color and Saint Austremoine, Issoire
Églises Saint Savin (Vienne)
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