There are several different styles of architecture that can be classified as Romanesque churches. The Romanesque architectural style is an architectural design of medieval Europe characterized by rectangular, sometimes semi-circular arches. There isn’t much agreement for the origin of this style, with estimates ranging from the 5th to the 7th century, the latter date being the more widely held. What we do know is that from this point on, there’s been little else that resembles the style.
Why is there so much discussion about it? There are many possible answers. One is the age-old debate as to who created the first Romanesque church. Was it one of the many bishops converting to Christianity or was it some layperson? With the discovery of the mosaic painting on the walls of the Palace of Nice in France, there may be added support to either theory.
Look And Design
If it was one of the bishops, it would make sense that the Romanesque church would have had a very different look and design than other nearby churches. In addition, the catacombs of Rome were built during the time of the Roman Republic. This is something that adds to the confusion of where the style came from. Was it the result of a conversion or was there an independent church before it was converted?
The Romanesque style also has its roots in Gothic architecture. The roof of the church was typically lower than that of other Gothic buildings. The spires had seven sides, unlike the rest of Gothic which had only five. A Romanesque building would also have pointed arches or curves instead of angles. It would be easy to assume that the Romanesque spires were inspired by these structures.
From the Romanesque period on, the Romanesque became a style all its own. By the thirteenth century, the Romanesque had come a long way. There are many modern examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe today such as the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Ecstatic monument in Italy, and the Romanesque Churches of Burgundy, France. These buildings remain standing and are admired around the world.
The style found in the Romanesque is characterized by elements found elsewhere in Gothic architecture. For example, the round roof, which is common in Gothic architecture, is often found in Romanesque churches. It would not be surprising to find such a characteristic in Middle Eastern buildings as well. This round roof was originally a Romanesque invention.
The Romanesque has borrowed elements of other styles as well. For example, if you look at the vaulted ceilings found in many Gothic churches you will find a Romanesque influence. One Romanesque trait that is common throughout most of these churches is the use of tall pillars. In Romanesque architecture, such tall features are found mostly in homes rather than in public buildings.
In modern times the Romanesque has faded away somewhat. A few architects can distinguish it from Gothic and other styles but for most of us, the Romanesque remains a bit of an enigma. It is present in parts of Italy but is rare to find in other countries. Its presence can however be found in some modern home building projects in places like Florence, Italy, and London, England.
Still In The Use
In our day and age, there are still Gothic influences in some Gothic architecture. The Romanesque style can still be found in the double-tiered roofs that are very common in Gothic cathedrals. However, one Romanesque quality can be found in the way the doors open. Instead of having two large doors that open inwards they usually open outwards. This is done because in Romanesque architecture the doors are considered a form of the pulpit.
The Romanesque style can also be found in certain forms of art. The best known Romanesque examples would be murals and stained glass windows. These are works that were produced around the 12th century and above. They are most commonly found in the French town of Beswick in the United Kingdom.
A Romanesque church is a great place to visit or to observe. Its architecture is similar to that of a classic Roman basilica. It would add a great extra touch to any type of design for its rustic charm. The Romanesque style can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their religious affiliation.