Abbey Church of Cluny (Cluny III)

Abbey Church of Cluny (Cluny III)

Architect Gunzo

Date ca. 1088-1130

Movement Mature Romanesque

Located at Cluny, France


Cluny III  was the largest Romanesque church ever built, though much of it has since been ruined. In the Carolingian tradition, octagonal towers were built atop the transepts. The floor plan and verticality of Cluny were based on “perfect” and “musical” ratios—the architect having been a musician himself—that would have allowed for fantastic acoustics. The vault would have reached an impressive height of 100 feet and a closed triforium would have taken the place of a gallery. Pilasters formed the nave piers which rose to support the triforium above, and were topped by Corinthian capitals. Pointed arches have replaced rounded ones in this plan, and is perhaps a signifier of Islamic influence.