Romanesque architecture is a medieval European architectural style distinguished by semicircular arches. It evolved into the Gothic style, which is distinguished by pointed arches, in the 12th century. The two styles overlapped for several centuries.
Romanesque buildings have heavy walls with small windows and doors that often include transomed entries (gates). The roof is usually flat or sloped only slightly. The floor is usually made of wood, stone, or clay. In rural areas, it was common to see houses built from mud or wattle and daub surrounded by a fence made of wooden stakes or rails.
In cities, people tended to live in large buildings made of brick or stone with many rooms, so they needed ways to divide up their space. Rooms were used for various purposes including living quarters, but also for business meetings or lectures.
The church was at the center of every community. It was usually the tallest building, and it often had a tower with a bell used to call people to prayer or warn of danger. Inside the church there were images of God and saints, and sometimes even humans. They were painted on wood or stone and showed Jesus, Mary, and other biblical figures.
Semi-circular arches, a powerful look, tiny paired windows, and groin vaults are characteristics of the Romanesque period (10th–early 13th century). During the high and late medieval periods, Gothic architecture thrived, such as the Cologne Cathedral. But the Renaissance brought back the interest in classical forms, which led to the emergence of the Baroque style.
Renaissance architects such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci created designs for buildings with semi-circular arches. In 1532, François I invited the French architect Sebastiano Serlio to France to teach him about Roman architecture. When they arrived in Paris, they found that many beautiful buildings had been recently built using these designs, which led them to name the new style "Romanesque".
The word "arch" comes from the Latin word arcum, which means "circle". Semi-circular arches are made up of two arcs with the same center but different lengths. They are symmetrical, which means that each quarter of the circle has the same properties as the whole thing. For example, if you were to cut out a section from one side of an arch, there would still be enough material left over to make another half arch. Or if you were to pull out some of the stones on either side of the arch, they would still remain balanced on both sides of the structure.
Large interior areas, barrel vaults, sturdy walls, and rounded arches on windows and doorways were features of Romanesque architecture. Highness, flying buttresses, and vertical lines are all characteristics of Gothic architecture. The imagery used in Romanesque art includes religious figures, biblical stories, and portraits. Humans play important roles in every aspect of life in Romanesque society; thus sculptures of rulers often include military accessories or symbols to indicate they were men of action who led their people to victory in war or other endeavors.
The word "sculpture" is derived from the Latin word sculpter, which means "to carve." Carving wood was once popular among ordinary people as an exercise in improving hand-eye coordination and creativity. But sculptors were sought out by kings and queens because of their skill and talent at carving stone!
Romanesque sculpture reaches its peak between 1020 and 1140. By this time, France and England had become powerful nations, building huge castles to defend themselves against invading armies. Sculptors worked hard to create images that would inspire fear in their enemies. They showed warriors with bloodied swords, spears, and arrows, indicating that these men had been in battle and lost.
Medieval architecture included styles such as Romanesque, French, and Gothic architecture. Gothic style medieval architecture include stained-glass windows, flying buttresses, lofty spires, gargoyles, turrets, and pointed arches rather than round arches. This style became popular in the 13th century in Europe.
Gothic architecture is characterized by its heavy use of stone, especially cut stone. The most visible feature of Gothic buildings is their size. Large churches with naves (aisles) that extend for hundreds of feet are typical of this style. Gothic cathedrals are among the largest buildings in existence. They are also very dark inside because of the lack of light entering through large numbers of windows.
Another unique feature of Gothic architecture is its decoration. There are no straight lines in Gothic architecture. Everything is curved or angled to fit together with other elements in the building. Doors, windows, ceilings - everything has a purpose. Decoration includes painting, stuccoing (a mixture of fine dust and oil or wax), carved wood, and colored glass.
In conclusion, medieval buildings were tall, dark, and mostly made of stone. They often had colorful decorations and intricate designs. These characteristics make medieval buildings unique and interesting to study today.
Romanesque architecture combines elements of Roman and Byzantine architecture as well as other local traditions. It has monumental quality, thick walls, round arches, robust piers, groin vaults, big towers, and symmetrical layouts. The period's art was distinguished by a strong style in both painting and sculpture. Romanesque artists were able to express the inner spiritual world of their subjects with much vitality and realism.
Romanesque architecture developed in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries in northern France and southern Belgium. After 1150, it was also used in Germany and Switzerland. Building projects were funded by churches or private individuals. Often builders received payment only after their clients were satisfied with the work done. This often meant that not all parts of a project were completed until many years later. For example, the cathedral at Liège was not finished until 1215!
The name "Romanesque" comes from the French word for Rome, which was the main influence on the design of this type of building. However, although most buildings during this time were built under the direction of architects who knew what a capital "R" looked like, that doesn't mean they were actually designed by people from Rome. Instead, these architects took elements from various places and mixed them together to create something new. They may have studied drawings made by builders who had been to Rome, but that wasn't enough information to make accurate designs themselves.