Romanesque architecture in Europe

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Published on March 9, 2014

Author: shexianne

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Romanesque Architecture in Europe

Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe, characterized by semi-circular arches, and evolving into the Gothic style, characterized by pointed arches, beginning in the 12th century. Although there is no consensus for the beginning date of the style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th centuries, examples can be found across the continent, making Romanesque architecture the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman Architecture. The Romanesque style in England is more traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.

Romanesque Architecture in Europe Sheree Ann M. Labe

Influences Geographical The style which grew up on the decay of the Roman empire, and is known as Romanesque, was carried on throughout practically the whole of the Western empire; that is, in those countries which had been directly under the rule of Rome. The position of each country will be slightly touched upon under its own heading . The influence of Byzantine art brought Ravenna and Venice also influenced the Italian Romanesque in Lombardy and Europe generally.

Influences Geological In these early times a rough use of the material at hand characterizes the style in each country, and will be referred to under the same. Climate Local styles were favored by the variations of the climate north and south of the Alps, as referred to in each country.

Influences Religion The Christian Church, which was the civilizing and educating agency of the period, was striving to extend its boundaries in Northern Europe, and the erection of a church was often the foundation of a city. The nlonastic communities, with the encouragement and aid of Charlemagne, came into existence. The papacy had been rising to great power and influence, and, directed with skill, it rivalled or controlled such civil government as existed. The Pragmatic Sanction (A.D. 554) had already conferred authority on the Bishops over the provincial and municipal governments, thus increasing the power of the Church, with which now often rested the nomination of public functionaries and judges. As East and West drifted apart their architecture developed on opposite lines, but architecture of Western Europe due to Eastern influence is classed as Byzantine. The different countries looked to Rome until each developed its own style. Religious enthusiasm and zeal prevailed, and was manifested in magnificent edifices, and in creed warfare, so that when the Turks overran Palestine, the loss of the Holy Places resulted in the long warfare known as the Crusades (1096-1270) between the Christians of the West and the Mahometans of the East. Until the middle of the twelfth century science, letters, art and enlightenment generally were the monopoly of religious bodies, and pupils of monks afterwards became the designers of many of the great Gothic Cathedrals. The feudal rank of bishops and abbots made them in some sense military chiefs, occasionally taking the field in person. Schools attached to certain monasteries discharged to some extent the functions of universities, as those at S. Gall, Tours, and Rheims, and the aid thus rendered by monastic institutions to architecture was therefore important. Down to the thirteenth century, architecture was practised largely by the clergy and came to be regarded as a sacred science, as stated by Albert Lenoir in " 1'Architecture Monastique." Dr. Jessop's "Daily Life of an English Monastery" is interesting as showing the life led by the monks, and may be studied with advantage.

Influences Among the chief monastic orders were the following: Benedictine Order (Black Monks) Early 6th century houses commonly sited in towns part of the church being devoted to offices for the laity. Founded by St. Benedict in South Italy, who decreed that architecture, painting , etc. are to be taught. Cluniac Order Founded by Abbot Odo in 910 at Cluny in Burgundy. The plan was especially notable for double transepts, a feature which was adopted in many English Cathedral, as at Lincoln and Salisbury. Carthusian Order Founded by S. Bruno in 1086 carthusian architecture is notably severe and unadorned. The charter house, often remotedly sited provided separate cells for the monks, generally grouped around a cloister Garth, and the community served a simply – planned church.

Influences Cistercian Order (white monks) Founded in 1908 at Citeaux by S. Stephen Harding and at Clairvaix by S. Bernard. He ascetic aims of the cistercian order produced an architecutecture which was at first simple and severe. In mature Cistercian planning he monk’s frater or reflectory was sited at right angles to the South walk of the cloister with the kitchen adjoining it to the West, and the frater of the ‘conversi’ or lay brethren, beyond the usual form of Cistercian chapter house was an aisled hall in contrast to those of the Benedictine order and Augustinian order and which were either rectangular or circular. Secular Canons Serving principally cathedral and collegiate churches.

Influences ORDERS OF CANONS Regular: Augustinian Canons (Black Canons Regular) established in 1050. They undertook both monastic and pastoral duties in houses often sited in towns and planned similarly to those of thee Benedictine order. Premonastic Canons (White Canons regular) founded around 1100 by S. Norbert at Premontre in Picardy. Gilbertine Canons an exclusively English order founded in the 12th century by S. Gilbert of Sempringham, usually combining a house of canons of Augustine rule with another of Nuns of Cisterian rule, in conventual buildings separately planned, attached to a common church divided axially by a wall.

Influences MILITARY ORDER The Knights Templar, founded in 1119 to protect the Holy Places in Palestine and to safeguard the pilgrim routes to Jerusalem. The Knights Hospitallers organized in 1113, but develop no characteristic architecture of its own. The Mendicant orders of Friars, founded during the 13th century and headed by the Franciscans and Dominicans. Their houses were usually sited in towns, where the friars preached and did charitable works among the common people.

Influences Social and Political The system of feudal tenure, or the holding of land on condition of military service, was growing up, and caused important changes in the social and political organization of states. While through its operation the class of actual slaves died out, still the poorer freemen gradually came to be serfs, bound to the land and passing with it, on a change of ownership. The growth of the towns as civilization advanced is noticeable, and the privileges which they acquired, amounting almost to independence, rapidly gave them importance. Constant warfare rendered the condition of the people unsettled during this period, and skill in craftsmanship was at the lowest ebb. Christianity and civilization gradually extended from southern to western Europe. The clergy the scholars of the period directed the building of the churches, while the influence of the freemasons produced important results.

Influences Historical. In the year A.D. 799 the Roman Empire in the West practically passed from the hands of the Romans, by the election of the first F. Vankish King, Charlemagne, whose election is a convenient date to mark the end of the Roman Empire as such. Till the time of Charlemagne very little ROMANESQUE ARCHITECTURE IN EUROPE. 221 building was done, hut he in a great measure restored the arts and civilization to Western Europe before his death in A.D. 814. Before the year A.D. 1000, when it was popularly supposed thatthe world would come to an end, little building was carried out, but after the millennium had passed, buildings sprang up in all parts, with many local peculiarities, which will be noticed under each country; but the change was slow, traditional forms being firstly transformed in general design and detail, and then new features created. Nearly all the nations of Europe had at this time come into existence ; France, Germany, and Spain, were becoming powerful and tending to set aside the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, which now had become only a title. In northern Europe, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were distinct kingdoms, and England had become welded into one by the Norman kings at the end of the eleventh century.

Character 1. The Romanesque style of the tenth to the twelfth centuries was remarkable for the tentative use of a new construction principle; the deliberate articulation of structure in which each construction part played a designed role in establishing equilibrium. 2. The general character of the Romanesque style is sober and dignified, while formal massing depends on the grouping of towers and projection of transepts and choir. 3. The character depends on the employment of vaulting, based initially on Roman methods.

Character 4. Roman cross-vaults were used throughout Europe till the beginning of the twelfth century, but they were heavy ad difficult to construct and were gradually superseded by rib and panel’ vaulting, in which a framework of ribs supported thin stone panels. The new method considered in designing the profile of the transverse, longitudinal and diagonal ribs to which the form of the panels was adapted.

Character 5. Groins had previously been settled naturally by the intersection of the vault surfaces; this arrangement produced the quadripartite (four part) vault. 6. If the cross vaults were semi-cylindrical the diagonal groin would be a semi-ellipse.

Character In France and Germany, the vaulting ribs of a square vaulting compartment were usually semicircular turvest starting from the same level; therefore the diagonal rib; having the longest span rose to a greatet height than the transverse and longitudinal ribs, and when the panelling was filled in on the top of these ribs each vault was domical. In England vaults were generally constructed with continuous level ridges, instead of this domical form, and the differences in height between diagonal and transverse ribs in a square vaulting compartment was equalized by "stilting" the latter or by making the diagonal rib a segment of a larger circle than that of the longitudinal and transverse ribs. which were semicircular.

Character 7. In vaulting an oblong compartment the difference between the heights of diagonal and transverse ribs was still greater than in a square compartment and produced 8n awkward waving line of the ribs on plan, but little attempt was made to vault any but square compartment. The difficulty of vaulting oblong nave compartments was partially surmounted. 8. In some instances, the intermediate pier was carried up as a vaulting shaft to support a rib whk:h altered the quadripartite vaulting compartment into six parts, known as "Sexpartite“ vaulting. The main piers were usually more massive than the intermediate because they supported the chief weight of the vaulting.

Character 9. The addition of transepts and the prolonation of the sanctuary of chancel made the church a welldefined cross on plan. 10. Transepts were generally the same breadth as the nave; which was usually twice the width of the aisles. 11. The choir was often raised on piers above the level of the nave and over a vaulted crypt, in which saint or martyr had been buried.

Character 12. Towers, square octagonal or circular are prominent features of most Romanesque churches, either over the crossing, at the West end centrally with the nave, or at East end, sometimes arranged in pairs. at the west end and at the ends of transepts or at the eastern ends of the aisles, often rising to a great height in well-marked stages pierced with windows.

Character 13. Roman methods of craftsmanship still influenced constructive art in Europe. Walls were often roughly built, and were relieved externally by shallow buttresses or pilaster strips connected at the top by bands horizontal moldings or by a. series of semicircular arches.

Character 14. Attached columns, with rough capitals supporting semicircular arches, formed wall arcading, which was a frequent decorative feature. APSE: St. Pierre: Aulnay 15. Arcades consisted of massive circular columns or piers which supported semi-circular arches, as in the naves or Norman cathedrals.

Character 16. Door and window openings are very characteristic, with jambs or sides formed in a series of receding moulded planes known as 'orders', in which are set circular shafts surmounted by a continuous abacus. The semicircular arch above was also constructed in receding concentric rings which followed the lines of recesses below.

Character 17. A Rose or wheel window was often placed over the west door. 18. Glass seems not to have come into general use till the ninth century. St. Zeno Maggiore, Veronica

Character 19. In Italy, the traditional monolithic column was usual but in the west, in France and England, the columns were generally cylindrical and of massive proportions, built up with ashlar masonry and having a rubble core. These were treated with plutings or with spiral, trellis or chevron patterns. 20. Variations of Corinthian or tonic capitals were used. Durham Cathedral : Nave

Character 21 . In later times the capital was often of a cushion (cubiform shape). Interior of St. John’s Chapel

Character 22. Mouldings were often elaborately carved. Etton Church Yorkshire Doorway Ornament : Limburg 23. Ornament, into which entered vegetable and animal forms, was treated with conventionally and carving and sculpture were often rough.

Character Bronze Pilaster Door of Trani Cathedral Hyllestad Church, Setesdalen, Norway : Detail of Doorway Urnes Church, Sagne Fjord, Norway : Detail of Doorway Twin Capitals: St. Sernin Toulouse Font : Baptistry Parma

Other Example Diotisalvi, Deotisalvi or Deustesalvet was an architect from Pisa, Italy, active in the 12th century in Pisa. The Baptistery, Cathedral, and Leaning Tower, Pisa

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