Traveling introduces us to a world we may have never paid much attention to. You don’t need to be an art major to appreciate art in the Louvre or an architect to appreciate beautiful buildings like Notre Dame in Paris. This is part of what traveling is all about, learning.
As we marvel at the enchanting buildings we visit we are told they are Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Modern architecture. We say to ourselves, “Hmmmm, this is interesting and beautiful” and move along to the next feature. But what are those different architectural styles all about? What makes something Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Modern?
I have decided to learn more about architecture and will be writing about the different architectural styles you may encounter while visiting Europe.
I’m starting with Romanesque.
Romanesque architecture is a style associated with the medieval time period and started showing up between 1000 and 1200 AD. It is known as the first “European” style of architecture and was influenced by the massive buildings of the Byzantine Empire seen by knights during the crusades.
Churches during the medieval times were the center of town and the communities revolved around them. They were the local seat of power. The churches built in the Romanesque style were built of stone and were the prominent building of the area.
Romanesque churches are made of massive, thick stone walls and, in this time, were the only building made of stone. The doors are topped with layers of round arches.
Romanesque buildings do not have a lot of windows and, therefore, tend to be dark and may be considered foreboding.
The ornamentation was Christian themed and figures were of people.
Romanesque architecture also includes decorative moldings and arcades as well as columns and murals on ceilings and walls. A very noticeable component is the tall towers, which could be seen for miles.
We’ve all been to Romanesque style churches or castles. What are your favorite examples of Romanesque architecture?