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Romanesque Architecture Vs Gothic Architecture: a Difference in Time

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Words: 812 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 812|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

When people go overseas to places such as Europe, many of them like to admire the architecture. However, not many of them would be able to tell the difference between two major styles of architecture, Romanesque and Gothic. Both are of them are buildings made of stone, but there are many differences between them that set them apart from one another. From time period to design, both of architectural styles are more than just stone and labor, decorative and defensive. These are pieces to our past that serve as reminders of times past, as well as examples for us to be able to identify different time periods in our day in age.

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Starting with time period, Romanesque architecture appeared during the time of the Holy Roman Empire, which was between 800 A.D. and 1100 A.D. (2012). This style of architecture reached the height of its popularity between 1075 A.D. and 1125 A.D (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica 2018). Meanwhile, Gothic architecture appeared around 1140 A.D. Gothic architecture experienced three different high points: Early, High, and Late Gothic. The Early Gothic style was the first to appear around 1140 A.D. This was followed by the High Gothic Style from 1194 A.D. to 1300 A.D. (Frankl & Crossley 2000), then the Late Gothic Style from which the dates are still a matter of debate. Each of these “new” styles of Gothic architecture were improvements of the one before. However, when compared to Romanesque, there are still architectural differences that make them stand apart.

Romanesque castles and churches were built to be durable and places of defense. The windows were small, the interiors were cramped, not very creative in terms in decor, and not the tallest when compared to the massive buildings of the next style. Gothic architecture was built for beauty and for places of worship, boasting large stained glass windows, humongous interiors, artful designs inside and outside, as well as improvements which allowed the architects to build them taller, such as flying buttresses, pointed arches, and vaulted ceilings. The designs that came with Gothic architecture also created a competition between architects to see who could construct the most ornate building. People may ask, “Now that we know what sets them apart, where did they first appear?”

Well, to start, Romanesque originated from West and Central Europe, which was controlled by the Holy Roman Empire. These buildings were constructed for the growing numbers of people choosing to follow the monastic, or monk-hood, way of life, which required larger churches to hold more monks and priests, as well as pilgrims who came to see relics of saints. As for Gothic, this style appeared in northern France.

Now, what caused this change from constructing buildings to be durable and defensive to tall and magnificent? The answer is time and peace. Gothic architecture is a result of several centuries of cultural development and great building schemes brought to you by “prosperity and relative peace”. In the Romanesque time period, churches and castles had to be built defensively as the Norse came from Normandy and began to invade places such as Britain and northern France. When life becomes a constant question of , “Will the Norse come down and invade my land as well,” then people are more likely to build dwellings and religious places to be durable as well as easy to defend. Romanesque is the parent that lived in the roughest of times and Gothic is the beautiful child that was spawned from it.

When people go overseas to Europe, they’ll see perfect examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. All the castles and churches built to withstand an invasion, to the soaring cathedrals that invite people in and excite the imagination, will be viewed when traveling across Europe. No matter what their intended use was, Romanesque and Gothic architecture are one in the same when it comes to impressive architectural feats. The hands that went into them were focused on one goal, and they achieved it just the way they needed to. Whether it was to bring people into a cathedral that reached to the heavens and let in enough light to make it inviting, to a church that was large enough to hold numerous people, but was dark and built to make the position easily defendable, these buildings did their job and now act as portals to back to when times were difficult or prosperous.

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The next time you go to Europe, pay attention to the style of the church or castle you are viewing, as well as the time period it was built in. Each one has its own story and its own style, but some of them are Romanesque, and others are Gothic. Each one is different, but, in a parent to offspring way, they are the same. The characteristics of each style served their purpose of the time and they passed on tiny qualities to the next. 

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Romanesque Architecture Vs Gothic Architecture: A Difference In Time. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/romanesque-architecture-vs-gothic-architecture-a-difference-in-time/
“Romanesque Architecture Vs Gothic Architecture: A Difference In Time.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/romanesque-architecture-vs-gothic-architecture-a-difference-in-time/
Romanesque Architecture Vs Gothic Architecture: A Difference In Time. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/romanesque-architecture-vs-gothic-architecture-a-difference-in-time/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Romanesque Architecture Vs Gothic Architecture: A Difference In Time [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/romanesque-architecture-vs-gothic-architecture-a-difference-in-time/
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