Gothic Architecture: The Romanesque Style

895 Words4 Pages
Medieval Cathedral Architecture The Romanesque style was used from the tenth century to the twelfth century. The style was plain and often dimly lit in comparison to the open and intricate designs of the gothic style. Romanesque cathedrals had thick walls to hold up the heavy roof. This caused there to be few windows and narrow passageways. As a result of the lack of windows, torches were used to light the building. The change in style from Romanesque to Gothic took place in the early thirteenth century through the fifteenth century. The changes from Romanesque to Gothic fixed multiple problems that were faced with the Romanesque style. The Gothic style revolutionized medieval cathedrals. The cathedral of Notre Dame distinctly shows numerous…show more content…
Barrel vaults need the whole wall to be able to support the roof therefore causing the barrel-vault churches to have an absence of windows and be dimly lit. Groin vaults allow the church to be more open and let sunlight enter the building. Groin vaults were made by crossing arches at right angles. Moving the pressure from being exerted on the entire wall to where the arches met the pillars. Furthermore the groin vault was then replaced by the Gothic ribbed vault. The ribbed vault is an intersection of two to three barrel vaults forming an arch. With ribbed vaults and pointed arches there was room for additional openings such as doors and windows. One could find rib vaults used throughout Notre Dame. The rib vault was used as a modification of groin vaults to make up for its disadvantages. “Over the years, ribs were arranged in ever more elaborate patterns. Eventually, most ‘rib-vaulting’ served no structural purpose at all, but was purely for decoration” ( MacDonald 24…show more content…
The arcade, which rests on a series of pillars and is made of solid stone. The triforium is the second level and the shortest of the three; composed of two to three arches and are often times embellished with carving and occasionally contained stained glass. The triforium got its name as it occupies the same position of the old triforia galleries in ancient Christian churches (Lace 57). However, in some instances, instead of a triforium there may be a gallery. This is the case in the cathedral of Notre Dame.The highest level is known as the clerestory soared up to sixty feet high and were adorned with colored glass in narrow arches. The clerestory of Notre Dame contains stained glass depicting the legend of Saint Genevieve. In earlier Romanesque churches, three stage walls were not possible because of the barrel

More about Gothic Architecture: The Romanesque Style

Open Document