Architecture and art of medieval Europe. Romance and Gothic styles

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, construction was so launched that the then masters were forced to study the architectural achievements of the ancient Romans. As a consequence, in the X century. Romanian architectural style begins to form in Western Europe. This was the first pan-European style that spread in the 11th-12th centuries.

Christians wanted to perpetuate their love for the Lord in luxurious temples. The material for their construction was a white and pink stone. The temples were so large and powerful that if necessary they could withstand the attacks of the enemies and become a haven for parafians and pilgrims.

XI century. From the work “Five Books the Historian of His Time” by the monk Raul Glauber

When the third year came that followed the thousandth, almost all the lands, and more than Italy and Gaul, witnessed the reorganization of church buildings; although most of them were still quite fit and did not need it. Almost every Christian

community had to build a more lavish church than the neighbors. The world seemed to be throwing off rags and everywhere to wear the white attire of churches. At that time, almost all the episcopal and monastery churches dedicated to different saints, and even small rural chapels were rebuilt and became even more elegant.

Romance art reached its peak in about 1100, when the largest Romanesque church in Europe was erected in Cluny Abbey. In addition to the monastic complexes and temples, numerous castles and town houses were erected in the Romanesque style.

Duke. Ekkergard and his wife Uta. Cathedral in Meissen. XIII century.

A classic example of Gothic architecture is the city hall in Brussels. This three-story building of the first half of the XV century. Above the town hall stands a tower, whose height reaches 90 meters. At its top is built a five-meter weather vane with the image of St. Michael, who kills the dragon. At the foot of the building there are wide oval winches decorated with sculptures, symbols of Justice, Caution, Peace, Law, Restraint and Force.

The flowering of Gothic style

falls on the period of victories of city communes. In the cities that received the right to self-government, artel craftsmen erected the Town Hall. It housed the city government. The Town Hall was a large stone building, above which towered the tower – a kind of symbol of the independence of the city.

But the most magnificent construction of Gothic architecture is the Cathedral. Gothic cathedrals – symbols of the wealth and power of the city – were majestic, aspiring to heaven. If in the Roman temple the vault was supported by thick walls, then in the Gothic cathedral – on pointed arches, which were kept on poles. This made the structure more spacious and bright. Colored glass was used in the enormous windows to enhance the play of light. He laid out a variety of stained-glass windows depicting people and plants. The decoration of the Gothic cathedrals were portals, arches, statues, stone carvings, ornaments, chimeras, paintings.

The cathedral in Reims, where the French kings were crowned – one of the most beautiful architectural gothic sights of France. It was built from 1212 to 1311. The cathedral was erected on the site of pilgrimage; here, even in pagan times, there was a sacred spring. The lower tier of the main facade consists of three portals. Inside the second tier there is a huge round window, the stone interlacing of which resembles a flower in shape. This is the famous Gothic “rose”. There are tall narrow windows on either side of it. The entire second tier is adorned with statues of biblical kings – the ancestors of Jesus Christ and his mother of the Virgin Mary. The cathedral is crowned with two tower-bell towers.


In the X-XII centuries. in the European architecture dominated the Romanesque style. The characteristic buildings – castles, temples – were like fortresses. Their massiveness replaced the lightness, swiftness of Gothic buildings: cathedrals, palaces, town halls, apartment buildings, etc. The art of Gothic was closer to life and the feelings of people.


Medieval temples of Western Europe are inextricably linked with sculpture.

Gothic figures were inseparable from the walls. The stone seemed to come to life, the masters transmitted in the images inner beauty, strong feelings and external charm.


Time has preserved for us numerous monuments of medieval art: icons, frescoes, mosaics, miniatures, engravings, etc. Continuing the Gothic traditions, the artists of the late Middle Ages showed a deep interest in the spiritual world of man. This contributed to the emergence of a landscape painting, a portrait.

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Architecture and art of medieval Europe. Romance and Gothic styles