Romanesque and Gothic Architecture A Comparison Essay

Romanesque and Gothic Architecture

Romanesque Style

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            The Romanesque style is a name given to a style period in Europe, between 900 till 1150. The term is mainly associated with architecture but is also used for more art forms from this period, like the sculptures and paintings. The style is only indirectly based on the architecture of the Romans. It originated from the Carolingian style, where the principles from the Roman style, were rediscovered.

The Roman style is characterized by small semi-circular arches and columns. The style looks horizontal and heavy. The walls are thick and usually decorated with arcades, sculptures and paintings. The walls were carrying the whole building what made big windows impossible. That’s why it is quite dark in Roman churches.

Regional, there were some differences in style and the style also developed itself, ultimately leading to the development of the pointed arch, which would lead to the Gothic style.

Romanesque and Gothic Architecture

Gothic Style

The Gothic style is the name for a style period in the late Middle Ages, between 1140 till 1500. The term has no universal meaning; there were big regional differences with a chronological development. In spite of all the differences, there are also many common characteristics.

The main theme was the urge for ‘verticality’ and light. The buildings became

higher and apparent smaller. Sometimes the style is called ‘Pro Deo’, for God, to honor God, which therefore left architects unknown. The use of pointed arches and high glass windows as well as ribbed vaults and rose windows, made the verticality stronger.

            Because of the height of the buildings, the walls had to be strengthened with flying buttresses to hold the forces of the wall. Other characteristics of the Gothic style are the high extent of transparence and realism. In the 14th, 15th and 16th century, the Gothic style developed into the Renaissance.