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Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia, Logudoro, Sassari, Sardinia
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Ⓒ Peter Callas 2018. All Rights Reserved.
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Towering incongruously on the wild wind-swept Pianura di Codrongianos (though these days situated disturbingly close to the Sassari-Olbia strada statale), SS Trinità di Saccargia is the most visually striking of the isolated Pisan-Romanesque churches that sprang up across the fertile Sardinian territory known as the Logudoro (a term which originated as a corrupt mashing of the kingdom's name of Logu de Torres). This landmark basilica, with its stripy Pisan-style limestone and basalt bell tower, was built in 1116 on the site of a miraculous revelation.
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According to legend, the Giudice (regional judge-ruler) Constantino di Mariano and his wife Marcusa spent the night here as guests of the monks of the original monastery. Marcusa received a vision telling her that they were going to have their longed-for first child. The delighted Giudice built the church and a new monastery on this spot. Work to expand the church was entrusted to Pisan workers around 1120 and later: lengthening the hall, heightening the walls, and, most importantly, creating a new black and white striped facade and a very tall quadrangular bell tower. Under the arches there are wheels and tipped lozenges decorated in tarsia according to the Pisan classicist style of the early 13th century. The church was abandoned in the 16th century until it was restored and reopened in the early 20th century.
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At the end of the 12th century the interior of the central apse was frescoed by an artist probably from Umbria or Lazio: it is the only example of Romanesque wall painting in Sardinia.

Medieval Italian Churches and the Origins of Striped Façades
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From Ashley Paine, Façades and stripes: An account of striped façades from medieval Italian churches to the architecture of Mario Botta, School of Architecture, University of Queensland. See espace.library.uq.edu.au
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“The genesis of explicit striped patterning using opposing bands of coloured construction [has] a long history. Two primary sources are generally identified, both with Roman connections. First, a number of authors locate striped construction within a Byzantine tradition in which alternating layers of brick and stone are used to reinforce the wall structure, by tying the outer skin of the wall to its interior (often brick) fill. This practice is said to originate from earlier Roman construction techniques. It also had other advantages: where quality stone was scarce or expensive, it could be selectively introduced between bands of inferior material (brick or stone) to strengthen the wall. And, while this composite construction may be grounded in principles of structure and economy, its decorative effect cannot be ignored, and may explain the medieval Italian use of stripes over entire building surfaces...”

“The second often cited explanation for medieval stripes comes from the Venetian practice of applying patterned, polychromatic stone veneers to building surfaces. This has been traced back to the early Christian use of geometric and polychromatic stone cladding and coloured tile mosaics. These Christian practices are understood to have emerged from two decorative Roman practices: the use of coloured mosaics, and the articulation of various parts of columns through the use of coloured stone. It is speculated that these Roman practices stem from the earlier Greek tradition of polychromatic painted decoration on both architecture and sculpture, which has been related to even earlier Egyptian and Mesopotamian practices of ornamental surface treatments. However, most seem to agree that, in its earliest usage, this application of colour to architecture emerges not just from a decorative, aesthetic sensibility, but with an equally sound constructional logic that entails the covering of poor quality construction and materials with protective claddings, renders and painted finishes. This duality of applied finishes—understood as both essential and superficial—remains a contentious debate in architecture today, contributing to the aforementioned marginality of the surface....”
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“Many writers contend that the Gothic style was only reluctantly accepted by the Italians, who undermined its archetypal verticality with the combination of Romanesque features and the strong horizontality of stripes to exaggerate the buildings’ breadth: an early example of the use of stripes to manipulate architectural appearances. It should also be noted that such extensive and unbounded use of decoration over entire buildings façades, is relatively unique—not just in Italy, but in the history of Western architecture. Traditionally, ornament and decoration are limited in their extent, determined by, and subordinate to, the primary expression of the building form, order and structure. Striped façades regularly contradict such rules. However, an understanding of the origins of striped decoration may go some way to explaining this anomaly...”

Foreign Influence in Sardinia in the Middle Ages
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Sardinia has more than 150 intact Romanesque churches, many in a good state of preservation. Many are in the striped Pisan style, combining local materials extracted from quarries on the island. However, the history of the art and architecture of the island is intimately connected to the political alliances of the Middle Ages in Italy and further afield. The so-called Pisan churches are also a testament to this.
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Byzantine rule in Sardinia is typically thought of as beginning with the island's conquest by Justinian I in 534. However in the 9th century, the Arabs and Berbers pursued aggressive policies of expansion and piracy. The conquest of Sicily by these groups in 827 effectively cut Sardinia off from Constantinople. In the Byzantine absence, provincial Sardinian Byzantine officials, called iudici ("judges") began to govern autonomously.
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By the 10th century the island had been divided into four giudicati ("judgeships"). At this juncture the mighty Pisan and Genoan Maritime Republics, two of the preeminent powers of medieval Italy, were invited to act as protective agents against the Arabs. This had unfortunate consequences. By the end of the 11th century the island was forced to open its boundaries in order to counterbalance the maritime republics’ often malevolent interference with the Sardinian giudicati. For this reason the Judges began to grant land and church property to the Papacy. More meddling resulted. To add to the mix, the giudici also donated churches and lands to religious orders such as the Benedictines of Marseille and Montecassino. These interlopers were bitterly opposed by the archdiocese of Pisa, by then the chief religious influence on the island.
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The monks of many of these orders not only had spiritual and scholastic roles but also acted militarily. The isolated Saccargia basilica was also expected to exploit its strategic position in order to defend the territory and ensure safe trade relations and pilgrimage.

🔥 Why Pisan?

Sardinia has more than 150 intact Romanesque churches, many in a good state of preservation. Many are in the striped “pisano-pistoiese” style combining typical Sardinian materials extracted from quarries on the island, such as white and black limestone and dark basalt stone.

The history of the art and architecture of the island are strictly connected to the political and historical events of the continent. Byzantine rule in Sardinia is typically though of as beginning with the island's reconquest by Justinian I in 534. This ended the Vandal dominion of the island after about 80 years. There was still a substantial continuity with the Roman phase at this time. The invasion of Italy by the Longobards in 568, which changed the face of Italy, only resulted in a few coastal raids on Sardinia.

However in the ninth century, the Arabs and Berbers followed aggressive policies of expansion combined with piracy in the Mediterranean - even mounting raids from as far afield as Andalucía in the Iberian peninsula. The conquest of Sicily by these groups in 827 effectively cut Sardinia off from the central government and military might of the Byzantine Empire. In the absence of instruction or reinforcement, the Sardinian provincial Byzantine officials, called iudici ("judges") began to govern autonomously.

By the tenth century the island was divided into four of these provinces (giudicati, literally, "judgeships"). The first capital city for the Giudicato of Logudoro was ancient Torres (now Porto Torres), but it was exposed to Arab attacks, and so the seat of the judgeship was transferred inland ultimately to Sassari.

Also with the decay of the Eastern Empire, the mighty Pisan and Genoan Maritime Republics were invited to ally with local forces as protective agents, This proved to be particularly shortsighted and had unfortunate consequences since by the end of the 11th century, the island was forced to open its boundaries to the West in order to counterbalance the maritime republics’ interference with Sardinian governments. For this purpose the Sardinian Judges begin to grant land and churches to the Church of Rome and their Monasteries.

The fading of the Byzantine and Greek Orthodox influence in Sardinia was also exploited by the Papacy which intensified its meddling with the religious life (and power politics) on the island. To add to the mix, the Giudici also donated churches and lands to religious orders such as the Benedictines of Marseille and Montecassino. These interlopers were opposed by the archdiocese of Pisa, thitherto the chief religious influence on the island. The monks not only had spiritual and scholastic roles but also acted militarily.

The isolated Saccargia basilica Was also expected to exploit its strategic position in order to defend the territory and ensure safe trade relations and pilgrimage from the royal palace in Ardara to the harbour of Porto Torres.

Text sources: en.wikipedia.org; it.wikipedia.org; sardegnaturismo.it; tharros.info; wikipedia.org; chnt.at (Giulia Baldi, The Romanesque Complex of SS. Trinità of Saccargia in Sardinia, Dipartimento di Architettura, University of Florence, Italy)
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#SantissimaTrinitàdiSaccargia #Codrongianos #Logudoro #italy #Sardinia #italia #Pisanstylechurch #romanesque #Pisanromanesque #Sardinianromanesque #church #12thcentury #medieval #architecture #instagood #medievalitaly #australianartist #instatravel #photography #travel #travelling #picoftheday #picoftheday #artist #middleages #romanesquearchitecture

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Peter Callas (Karasu) (23)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2018-00-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2019-02-18 19:05
Viewed: 408
Points: 12
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