What is cistercian architecture?

Cistercian Architecture

Cistercian architecture is a style of architecture associated with the churches, monasteries and abbeys of the Roman Catholic Cistercian Order. It was headed by Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1154), who believed that churches should avoid superfluous ornamentation so as not to distract from the religious life. Cistercian architecture was simple and utilitarian, and though images of religious subjects were allowed in very limited instances (such as the crucifix), many of the more elaborate figures that commonly adorned medieval churches were not; their capacity for distracting monks was criticised in a famous letter by Bernard. Early Cistercian architecture shows a transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Later abbeys were also constructed in Renaissance and Baroque styles, though by then simplicity is rather less evident.

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Cistercian Architecture - Legacy
... The Cistercian abbeys of Fontenay in France, Fountains in England, AlcobaƧa in Portugal, Poblet in Spain and Maulbronn in Germany are today recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites ... of France and England are fine examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture ... The architecture of Fontenay has been described as "an excellent illustration of the ideal of self-sufficiency" practised by the earliest Cistercian communities ...

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