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The Contrast between Gothic Architecture and Romanesque Architecture Essay

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The Romanesque and Gothic architecture period both occurred during the Middle Ages with the Gothic period taking place during the later half. Gothic and Romanesque architecture were related in many ways, but they also contrasted in style too. Over time, masons began to test the waters and push the limits. They thought of new ways to add lighting and ways to allow more height to the building without it being to heavy and weak. Many of the reasons for the change in styles had a lot to do with society and the changes it faced. There was a greater intensity occurring in piety and literature. The Gothic style embodied this new urban society. Romanesque and Gothic shared similar characteristics, but Gothic architecture was a greater departure from its previous predecessor.
The Romanesque architecture style, which occurred during the late 11th century to the middle 12th century, literally means “roman-like” architecture. The Romans, who were inspired by the Etruscans, used barreled and groined vaulting. Romanesque architects later adapted the use of rounded arches, giving the style its name. The Romanesque style, being inspired by the Roman architecture, used the plan of the basilica style. Romanesque cathedrals were not originally designed for aesthetic purposes. Romanesque style replaced flat wood ceilings with stone vaulting. It was one of the first styles to use mainly all stone, but the walls of the Romanesque cathedrals were built very thickly. They were almost like a fortress. Romanesque cathedrals had few windows as a result of their thick walls so the churches were very dark. In a sense, this echoed the life that was outside of these sanctuaries’ walls during the Middle Ages.
Some Romanesque characteristics in architecture wer...


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... the use of colorful stained glass windows and flying buttresses. The Gothic style was something awe-inspiring. Masons challenged gravity to create works of art that literally reached the heavens.



Works Cited

Camille, Michael. Gothic Art: Glorious Visions. Upper Saddle River (NJ): Prentice Hall, 1996. Print.
Camille, Michael. Gothic Art: Glorious Visions. Upper Saddle River (NJ): Prentice Hall, 1996. 12. Print.
Frankl, Paul, and Paul Crossley. Gothic Architecture. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000. Print.
Mike. "The Evolution of Gothic Architecture." Aquinas Multimedia. Aquinas Multimedia, 12 May 2008. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
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Wilson, Christopher. "Thirteenth-Century Gothic." The Gothic Cathedral: the Architecture of the Great Church 1130-1530. Reprinted ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2008. 91-120. Print.


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