Italian Architecture In The Middle Ages

817 words - 3 pages

Italian Architecture in the Middle AgesIn the Fifteenth century, the Italian historian Flavio Biondo regarded the sack of Rome bythe Visogoths as the end of ancient civilization. He also believed that this marked the beginningof the Middle Ages (Erickson 72). Within the thousand years of the Middle Ages, historianshave recognized subperiods. These subperiods include the Early Middle Ages (900 to 1000), theHigh Middle Ages (1000 to 1300), and the Later Middle Ages (the 14th and 15th centuries)(Grolier 1).The purpose of this paper is to explain Middle Age Italian architecturethrough its history and specific examples. Italian art history begins in Rome during the firstthrough the fourth centuries. The birth of Christian religious architecture based on Romanprototypes, was developed. The transfer of the Roman imperial capital to Byzantium in the 4thcentury meant that Italy would become a Byzantine cultural province (Hoyt 17,18, 20). Residentin Sicily were the Arabs whoPaladino 2introduced styles of oriental magnificence such as Palarmo's Palantine Chapel.According to John White in Art and Architecture In Italy 1250-1400, impressive centralplans, lavish materials, sumptuous color, mysterious lighting, and stylized representationdescribe such works as Ravenna's San Vitale and St. Marks Basilica. The Italian Romanesquewas concentrated in Lombardy, Tuscany, and Southern Italy. The Lombard architecture wasknown for large vaulted churches made of elaborate exterior brick. In Tuscany, Pisanarchitecture superimposed tiers of marble cascades as in the Pisa Cathedral. The Cefalu andMonerale Cathedrals in Sicily are representations of southern Italy architectures.French architects employed by the Normans, who had conquered Sicily from the Arabs, areattributed to the northern Italy church facades decorated with sculptures of stone. This is evidentin such works as the Modena Cathedral and the bronze relief patterns in San Zeno, Verona (White100, 101, 114,123).Originating in the mid 12th century in France, the Gothic style was introduced to Italy inthe 13th century. This was mainly due to French Cisterian monks establishing Italian monasteries.The Gothic architecture is characterized by a classical style for width rather than medieval height.In contrast to France, ItalianPaladino 3churches such as San Francesco, Assissi or Santa Croce in Florence, appear massive,somber, and chaste decorated. Rather than the vertical walls of stained glass, the Italianspreferred horizontal surfaces for the paintings they did (Murray 112,113,115,121).Florentine architects determined the design for early renaissance buildings. Churches werebuilt by a central or a rectangular plan. Residential palaces were developed around a central,arcaded courtyard. The relationship of architectural proportion and human scale was a concernfrom the works of Brunelleschi. Florentine buildings...

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