Romanesque Architecture : The Medieval Period Essay

Romanesque Architecture : The Medieval Period Essay

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The Medieval period, which occurred in the years 401 until 1500, is a time in European history that fostered the development and widespread use of various architectural styles. Many structures built during this time still survive to this day, including St. Michael’s Church in Germany and Chartres Cathedral in France. Two of the most common and famous types of architecture during this period were the Romanesque and Gothic styles. Romanesque architecture borrows many of the same innovative engineering techniques the Romans used to build the structures of their vast and powerful empire, such as the rounded arch. Jackson writes, “In the eyes and judgment of the great masters of the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries Roman architecture was the perfection of human art, and fixed the standard which it was their ambition to reach with that of their own time.” This style emerged in the mid-9th century and lasted until the conclusion of the 11th century. This style was one of the first to utilize almost entirely stone for its construction. The Gothic style followed, originating in France during the 12th century. It was widely used across Europe until the end of the 16th century. These architectural concepts differ in three fundamental areas: arch construction, buttress style, and type of vaulting. Structures built under the Romanesque category are generally dark and solemn, with little decoration on their exteriors. Gothic architecture incorporates brightly lit, welcoming interior spaces, as well as ornate decorations on the outside. Numerous cathedrals, castles and towers were constructed all across Europe using these two styles of architecture.
Romanesque architecture refers to a style of building that closely resembles the con...


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...al light that could enter the structure. Barrel vaults in traditional Romanesque architecture were unable to accommodate glass panels, since the technique involves stone construction that covers the vault in its entirety.
In summary, Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture are profoundly different in several ways, most notably in the categories of arch construction, buttress style, and type of vaulting used. The Gothic style evolved from that of Romanesque, building on concepts and ideas that led to the creation of larger and grander structures. Today, mankind looks in awe at the structures that were built hundreds of years ago without the assistance of modern technology and equipment. These architectural styles are indisputably different, but equally profound. They made use of differing techniques to become tangible structures that can still be seen today.

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