Mr. C. A. Cummings, president of the Boston Society of Architecture, lectured last evening in the Fogg Art Museum before a large audience. The subject of the lecture which was the first of the series on Fine Arts was "The Early Medimaeval Architecture of Italy."
The architecture which originated in Italy with the Lombards, said Mr. Cummings, and spread during the Dark Ages, and afterwards, over Europe, is neither the Asiatic, Byzantine, nor Roman; but combines features of them all. It is a style which lies between the Roman and the Gothic. Until 1820 it was variously termed; but that year a French architect named it Romanesque.
The lack of homogeneity in Romanesque architecture makes it desirable to separate it geographically into its Lombard, Central and Southern development.
The churches of San Ambrosio in Milan and of San Michale in Pavia are probably the oldest existing types of Lombard Romanesque. The early builders were rude and feared to attempt much, hence most of their buildings have not lasted. Gradually the Italian influence made itself felt and the buildings became more beautiful. The sculpture was especially rude; but imaginative. The Lombards had no liking for saints and crosses, for church decoration, but preferred animals and dragons, usually in attitudes of fighting. But they did not always have this way. Lombard workmen could not always be obtained, and when Greeks or Romans did the work the sculpture took on a milder form.