Cathedrals have been constructed in nearly every architectural style. However, the majority of notable European churches were Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, or Renaissance in style. Between 1000 and 1500 A.D., Europe saw its most prosperous period of construction. Carved sculptures adorned cathedrals. Paintings adorned walls. New monasteries were founded by monks who wanted to get away from the world outside their walls.
During this time, many different styles emerged. Some were based on existing buildings while others were completely new designs. Often, several architects worked on a single project. Sometimes they even competed with each other! The most popular styles were Romanesque and Gothic.
In the 12th century, French and German builders brought the Gothic style of architecture to England and Italy, respectively. By the 13th century, Gothic architecture was used throughout Europe. In the 14th century, new styles such as Renaissance and Baroque developed. These newer styles were inspired by ancient Rome and Greece, respectively.
By the late 15th century, much of Europe's population was impoverished. Monarchs realized that they needed to come up with a style of building that was both beautiful and cost-effective to construct. The first known example of Neoclassical architecture is the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was built between 1844 and 1876 by French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Furthermore, the structures themselves are remarkable. Although architectural styles differed from place to place and structure to building, there were several basic aspects that were largely common in massive churches created during the Middle Ages, and the Roman basilica served as the pattern for that sort of construction. The first thing one must understand about medieval church architecture is that many large buildings were not intended for religious use. They were constructed primarily for civil purposes - armies marched under the arches, merchants sold their goods in marketplaces carved out of rock, and even kings conducted government business from the seats of power that were erected for this purpose.
The second aspect to know about medieval church construction is that they were built to last. Unlike most modern buildings, which are designed to be replaced when they become old or obsolete, medieval churches were built to stand for hundreds of years without replacement if they were made of stone or brick, and some reached a great age - St. Paul's Cathedral in London was originally built around 597 AD, but it has been renovated several times since then and now looks like its original form because it uses Gothic style architecture; the current version was completed in 1245. Even before then, it had been used for religious services so it can be assumed that it was an effective design at that time. Today, it continues to be used for this purpose and also serves as a museum open to visitors who are interested in ancient art.
Wells Cathedral, England's earliest Gothic cathedral, is famous for its one-of-a-kind architecture. The Cathedral never ceases to inspire, from its magnificent West Front, which features 300 medieval carvings, to the clever fourteenth-century Scissor Arches. Use the interactive map below to explore Wells Cathedral. Then, in a web browser, click on the "View Gallery" link at the bottom of the page to see some of the medieval art that cannot be displayed on your mobile phone screen.
The key breakthroughs in Gothic architecture occurred inside this confined area, in the succession of cathedrals erected during the 12th and 13th centuries. 2. The supernatural nature of medieval ecclesiastical architecture was given a unique expression in the Gothic church. Religious art became more important than ever before, and churches were built with this purpose in mind. Cathedrals and monasteries were major projects that took many years to complete. They included entire libraries in their collections, laboratories for scientists living in them, and rehearsal rooms for musicians.
During this time, Europe was going through a period of rapid economic growth and technological advancement. The continent had recovered from the devastation of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, when all the land now inhabited by England was owned by Scandinavian invaders. William the Conqueror's wife was from a family that had fought under the banner of the Duke of Normandy, and she married him in order to secure her claim to the dukedom. She never lived in England, but instead moved back to France after her husband was killed in the invasion.
Normandy was once again becoming wealthy, and it was using its money to build large churches full of expensive artwork. These buildings served as monuments to God, who was seen as the ruler of all nations. European monarchs also wanted their countries to have impressive religious institutions, so they funded many construction projects.
It is one of Britain's most important historical sites.
Wells was built between 1175 and 1220 by Henry III as part of his plan to build 34 new cathedrals across England. The choice of location was deliberate - it is based on a spring in Jerusalem's Mount Zion where the prophet Elijah is said to have thrown his mantle over his shoulder. This indicated that God was going to use this new building to spread his message around the world. Today, the Cathedral still serves as a place of worship for approximately 100 priests and 20 lay people. It is also used for concerts and exhibitions related to religion and art.
Wells Cathedral is unique because of its simple yet elegant design and its impressive size: it has the longest nave of any English cathedral. The central tower, which contains the clock, was not built until 1608. Before then there were three separate towers but they collapsed into each other during an earthquake in 1185.
The original builders carved many details into the woodwork of the West Front, including animals, flowers, and even biblical scenes.