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Cathedral in Co. Galway, Ireland, dedicated to St Brendan. The rubble walls of the pre-Romanesque nave (10th or 11th century) originally formed a simple rectangular church. The rectangular chancel, with its paired east windows, was added in the early 13th century, and in the Late Gothic period the building was enlarged with transept-like chapels and an elegant square belfry, similar to those in Irish friaries, above the west end of the nave. The cathedral is renowned chiefly for the 12th-century sandstone doorway inserted into its west façade (see Romanesque, §III, 1, (v), (e)).

The decoration of the doorway consists of an extraordinary range of motifs, of both foreign and Irish derivation, forming the most idiosyncratic of all Hiberno-Romanesque portals. Jambs, archivolts, and a high-pitched ‘tangent gable’ were exploited as fields for a dense array of pattern-making. Following ancient Irish custom, the decorated jambs are inclined inwards. They support seven orders of deeply cut voussoirs, ornamented with interlace, bosses, scallops, geometrical designs, and beast heads. The beast heads bite a roll moulding and are comparable to those on the west portal of the Nuns’ Church at Clonmacnois (Offaly). The gable contains an arcade and a series of triangular compartments filled alternately with carved human heads and floral motifs. The five heads that peer out from the arcade may have had painted bodies, possibly emulating the enamelled figures with cast bronze heads found on contemporary Limoges plaques. Among the many delightful details are the rows of tiny beast heads on the lower faces of the abaci. Characteristic of the Hiberno-Romanesque is the juxtaposition of shallow carving, as is found here on both the jambs and pilasters, with much deeper cutting, as on the archivolts. Although this eclectic and exotic design was once attributed to the 1160s, most scholars now prefer a date of ...

Article

Colum P. Hourihane

International scholarly organization dedicated to the study of medieval Stained glass. Although it is claimed that the organization was founded in 1949, it was not formally established until 1952 when a group of interested scholars met at the International Congress for the History of Art in Amsterdam under the guidance of Hans R. Hahnloser and where guidelines for the recording and cataloguing of stained glass were then structured. Hahnloser had already discussed the possibility of founding such an organization three years earlier at the 16th International Congress for the History of Art in Lisbon when an outline and draft were proposed.

This international project now has branches in 12 countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the US) with related committees in Portugal and Russia. Its aims are to record all medieval stained or painted glass, although some committees have also ventured into later periods. Each country has its own national committee that is financially dependent on securing its own funding. Most national committees are run by volunteers. These committees determine the research priorities and usually work in tandem with other organizations. The independent nature of these various committees and their dependency on securing their own finance has meant that the project does not have a uniform level of publication or activity....

Article

Srdjan Djurić

Church on the west bank of Great Prespa Lake in the Republic of Macedonia, 2 km from Kurbinovo village. It was founded in 1191; except for the two large lateral windows added in the 19th century, all later alterations were removed during the 1960s when the church was restored to its original basilical form with a wooden roof. The north, south and west façades are articulated with doors surmounted by lunettes. The west façade bears wall paintings of imperial portraits and frescoes imitating fine stone and brick masonry, while painted scenes from the life and martyrdom of St George decorate the south façade.

Almost all the interior fresco decoration has survived intact; it is divided into three zones, with prophets in the uppermost zone, and the festive cycle and single standing figures, including a procession of bishops, in the middle and lowest zones respectively. Among the scenes depicted are the ...