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Romanesque And Gothic Architecture Essay

1130 words - 5 pages

Romanesque and Gothic Architecture

The 11th to 15th centuries saw a great surge of the Christian Church within Europe which was emphasized by the persuasiveness of the Crusades. The growing population of the Church increased the demand for the increased presence in architectural monuments and during the Romanesque and Gothic periods, a great cathedral construction boom occurred across Europe. The Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles were distinctive in not only the massiveness of the Romanesque monuments and the introduction of the cruciform plan but also for the introduction of the Gothic era art within the Cathedrals which included the inclusion of art the radiating Rose Window, column figures and the gargoyle among many others.

Within Europe, there was a progression of architectural styles, many of which are still evident in the monuments today. The major styles are considered as Carolingian (800-900 AD); Ottonian (1000s); Romanesque (1000s-1100s); Gothic (late 1100s-1400s). While Romanesque is considered as the architectural style which preceded the Gothic, many of the distinct Romanesque features found within the great cathedrals of Europe were lost to the greater Gothic movement. However, many Romanesque features, as well as the earlier Carolingian reside within the Gothic-built monuments.

The Romanesque name is deliberate in its direct relation to the styling designs found in Rome and there most distinctive feature is their massiveness as opposed to the much more thin monuments of the Gothic era which followed. An important structural development during the Romanesque period was the origin of the vault. The vault was originally designed as an alternative to the more fire prone wooden roofs but soon became a major architectural feature in all cathedrals.

The Romanesque era and style also refers to the Norman variations in the church architecture which also occurred in the late 12th century. The Twin towers are considered examples of the typical Norman facade developed during the Romanesque period and which are now considered a standard of medieval cathedrals. Another development during the relatively short Romanesque period was the origins of the cruciform structure of the church in that church plans (as seen from above) are in the form of a crucifix; a feature usually associated with the later Gothic styles but which had originated in the Romanesque period .

The Romanesque structures include Durham Cathedral, England; the Benedictine Monastery in Cluny, France; Sainte Foy Abbey in Southern France; Speyer Cathedral, Germany, along with many others. The growing importance of the Roman Catholic Church during the 11th and 12th centuries during which the first of the Crusades began called for the building of grand churches, cathedrals.

The 11th to 13th centuries were considered the era of the cathedral construction boom which began in the Romanesque period and lasted well into the Gothic period. Several of the...

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