Gotic Architecture Term Paper

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Gothic and Romanesque Style Arch. January 21, 1998 Represented primarily through cathedrals, Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture were some of the few symbols of civilization in the poverty stricken and often depressing Middle Ages. These cathedrals represented faith, dedication, and cooperation; a sane place in a world of anarchy. Gothic and Romanesque styles of architecture were related in various ways, yet they also contrasted in style in some ways. Romanesque and Gothic architecture, although having many similarities, also have many differences. This may be due to the fact that lifestyles changed in the time between these two eras of architecture. Romanesque architecture was designed to be more for protective purposes than for any aesthetic quality. The walls of Romanesque cathedrals were built very thickly, so as not to be destroyed by invaders. Gothic, on the other hand, had thinner walls and worked towards a more artistic approach. Gothic cathedrals have many more buttresses than Romanesque cathedrals. Gothic cathedrals were also designed with statues and sculptures on them such as the gargoyle, which also served as a rain spout.

Romanesque cathedrals had few windows, as the walls of the cathedrals were very thick and made the placement of windows extremely difficult. This lack of light seemed also to project the general mentality and lifestyles of the people of the Middle Ages. To brighten the cathedrals, they often added many wall paintings and mosaics. Contrary to Romanesque architecture, Gothic had many stained glass windows, which spread colored lighting, giving a feeling of peace. They also depicted biblical figures in the windows. Gothic style used many flying buttresses and pointed arches, while Romanesque used rounded arches for added support to the heavy construction of the walls and ceilings. In conclusion, Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecure helped to show people that even if that had a miserable life, they could always turn to the comforting church for salvation. Although in appearance their styles looked different, they essentially had the same purpose in that they both provided a safe haven for christians to feel safe with god. This helped to greatly strengthen the church. The two styles also had some similarities in physical appearance, not only pyschological purposes

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