Gothic Architecture Term Paper

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Gothic and Romanesque Style Arch.

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


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