are a few example. Click onto a thumbnail image to see a larger
use your borrower's backspace button to return to this page.
a few churches and museums you will soon learn to recognize different
architectural and artistic styles. To help speed up this process
of recognition, here are some comparisons. They will give you an
idea of the sort of thing to look out for. One difference between
Romanesque and Gothic churches is their height or at least the impression
of height created by the Gothic style. In the high middle ages,
once European society began to recover from centuries of chaos,
better materials became available due to more settled conditions
these materials enabled architects to build higher and higher churches.
In the process they discovered how to use keystones and distribute
the great weight of the edifice through carefully constructed pillars,
or buttresses. These developments are illustrated in the following
diagrams which show the internal height of the naves.
On the left, Fig. I,
is a diagram of a simple basilica of the type that was used by the
Romans and can be seen today in places like Trier in Germany.
Fig II, on the left,
shows the profile of Spyer Dom, or Cathedral. Its arches are typical
of the rounded Romanesque style. Note the way all the weight of
the building is carried by the external and internal walls.
By contrast Gothic architects sought to redistribute the
weight of buildings using weight baring structures known as buttresses.
In Fig 2 we see the design of buttress used to support the weight
of the walls and roof. This complex design transfers downward
weight from the main structure to supporting structures thus allowing
architects to build higher while giving the impression that the
heavy stone walls are light and lofty. Note the use of pointed
instead of rounded arches windows and doorways in the Gothic.
After the Gothic style
became popular throughout Europe many existing Romanesque building
were converted to Gothic. On the left, Fig. III, you can see the
changes made to the Gothic Cathedral in Winchester England. Although
not very popular in Italy, where the Gothic was quickly replaced
by the Renaissance style and what in Germany and other parts of
Europe became known as the Baroque, Gothic art and architecture
quickly spread throughout N Europe where the same craftsmen moved
from site to site, country to country to create similar structures
for Bishops and Kings who were constantly seeking to outdo each
other in grandeur.
To take the weight of
the roof off the walls, gothic architects invented the flying buttress,
Fig IV, seen on the left. It added both external grandeur and an
internal sense of space creating the illusion that the stone soars
to the heavens giving a feeling of unbelievable lightness that is
totally missing from the Romanesque.
To the left, Fig V,
are the profiles of the Salisbury Cathedral in England besides the
much higher and larger Amiens Cathedral in France. The height of
the Salisbury nave is a mere 84 feet while Amiens is 139.5 feet.
By comparison the nave of the Romanesque Spyer Dom in Germany, below,
is 108 feet high. Yet anyone entering Spyer and then Salisbury is
bound to think that Salisbury is the higher church simply because
of the illusion of height created by the soaring gothic pillars.
grandeur of the Gothic style comes out, however, with cathedrals
like that of Milan, Fig VI, which has an internal height of 139.5
Apart from the height
of naves, several other features indicate the period in which various
artworks were created. Take a close look at the following sculptures.
The differences between the Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and neo-Classical
are fairly easy to identify. The Romanesque has a simple, solid,
look. The Gothic is refined and highly spiritual, larger than life,
while the Baroque is lavish and colorful. On the other hand, the
neo-Classical style very clearly depicts a living person in an ideal
setting that deliberately imitates ancient Greek art.
Actually, some Romanesque
churches are higher than Gothic ones. But, they are heavy and monumental
in a way that Gothic is
not. On the left
are three examples showing the development of different architectual
styles from the basilica to the Gothic.