Project Description


(1989) (RT 1:00)
Series : Art of The Western World, Program #2  (Written, Produced and Directed by Perry Miller Adato)
  A White Garment of Churches —With the fall of the Roman Empire, Christianity flourished. Numerous churches and cathedrals were built with the Church as generous patron of monumental Romanesque and Gothic architecture.  Each installment of this series is divided into two segments.

Part I: (Romanesque), A White Garment of Churches offers a close exploration of the very early French Romanesque church of Paray-le-Monial.  At the churches of Autun and Vezelay in France, the camera focuses on the superb Romanesque sculpture of their facades, which feature powerful depictions of heaven and hell. Their purpose: to inspire awe in the faithful and strike fear into the hearts of potential sinners.

Part II: (Gothic) The early Gothic Abbey Church of St. Denis near Paris and the blazing glory of the Rose windows in the Cathedral of Chartres are filmed up close. High Gothic Chartres is seen both as a sublime example of Gothic architecture and as the focus of the daily and spiritual life of the town. Historic, social and religious matters that inspired and financed both Romanesque and Gothic church construction are explored by historians passionate about their subject: Paul Crossley, William Clark, and Anne Prache.  Michael Woods is host for the series.


Perry Miller Adato, Director (Episode 2) in the series:
“…The spiritual crisis that swept through Roman Society in the 4th century—Christianity-provoked, Wood says, “a fundamental shift in the Western story toward the inner life toward personal salvation.”… This leads logically to the second show in the series, A White Garment of Churches, which traces the rise of the Gothic style from the Romanesque in the churches to which the pilgrims journeyed. There are stunning views of vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows but also close-ups that are even more gripping for their human qualities, close-ups of miniature paintings in manuscripts, which show realistically that money as well as piety was a central fact of life in the Middle Ages; and close-ups of relief sculptures which are full of the faces of real, living people.
The great cathedral at Chartres figures prominently, of course, but so also do several far less known…”A living art” Wood says, “which still has the power to astonish us.”
–William Glackin, The Sacremento Bee

“The purpose of the art in all those Romanesque churches was to instruct and terrify an illiterate population…From illuminated manuscripts and Gregorian chant, new light, unified space, thirty–story spires, floating magi and the first great universities. Out of more stone quarried in thirteen-century France alone than was ever dug up in all of Egypt’s history, who could possibly have imagined Chartres, seven acres of stained glass?”
–John Leonard, CBS


Series: Art of the Western World
Episode #2 Romanesque and Gothic Art
Director: Perry Miller Adato
Producer: Perry Miller Adato
Writer: Perry Miller Adato
Host: Michael Wood

William Clark (Queens College, NY)
Paul Crossley (Manchester University)
Anne Prache (University of Paris, Sorbonne)

Associate Producer and Researcher: Sarah Teale

Camera: Norman Langly
Editor: Jason Rosenfield
Sound: Maurice Hillier
Sound Editor: Saverio Camporeale
Animation Photography: Chris Kogler
Production Associate: Nina Shulman
Location Manager (France): Jacqueline Sigaar
Production Assistants:
Pauline Taplin (Europe)
Nina Manolson (US)
Anne Troise (US)

Art Consultants:
Paula Lieber Gerson, International Center of Medieval Art
Linda Seidel, University of Chicago
Marvin Trachtenberg (Institute of Fine Art, NYU)
Grover A. Zinn, Jr. (Oberlin College)
Music consultants: John Adams, Robert Dennis

Special thanks to:
Art Resource, NY
David Bernstein
Arthur Cantor, Inc.
Helen Evans
Abbe Denis Grivot
Genevieve Hureau
Lawrence Klein
Thomas Matthews
Marilyn Stokstad
William Voelkle
The Pierpont Morgan Library
Program for Art on Film of the Metropolitan Museum and the J. Paul Getty Trust

Series: Art of The Western World
Executive Producer: Perry Miller Adato

Series Producers: Tony Cash, Andrew Snell
Coordinating Producer: Gail Jansen
Associate Producer: Jane Alexander
Series Art Consultant/TVS: Denise Hooker
Original Music Composed: Wilfred Joseph
Titles Sequence Design: Clive Helfet
Title Music Composer: Mitch Farber
Graphic Design Director: Christopher Kogler

Series Art Advisory Board:
James S. Ackerman (Harvard University)
Richard Brilliant (Columbia University)
Linda Nochlin (City Univ. of NY Graduate Center)
Leo Steinberg (Univ. of Pennsylvania)

Series Developed by Perry Miller Adato
Production Manager: Susan Benaroya
Production Comptroller: Michael Corcoran
Educational Materials: Director Robert Miller, Editor Beatrice Rehl
Production Assistants: Anne Troise, Jackie Unsworth
WNET Executive in Charge: Robert Kotlowitz

A Production of WNET/Thirteen
In association with TVS, ORF and Television Espanola, S.A
© 1989 Educational Broadcasting Corporation

Annenberg/CPB project
Rosalind P. Walter
Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation
Cowles Charitable Trust
Lemberg Foundation