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Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Romanesque

The enduring impact of Romanesque art can be found in the architecture of churches and castles throughout Europe, but perhaps the most important achievement of the style was its successful melding of multiple European artistic styles which preceded it. Though a precise genesis of Romanesque art has not been determined, it is accepted that by the 10th century the style was being used, and would dominate until the Gothic style effectively replaced it in the 12th century. Romanesque art is characterized by solid, heavy forms, use of the rounded arch, as well as the integration of sculpture into architecture, notably the high-relief method. Romanesque art was a pan-European style, borrowing liberally from Byzantine, Islamic, Early Christian and Classical styles. Churches sprung up quickly during this time, whose plans called for large spaces with the addition of transepts to accommodate larger congregations. Ambulatories were added which allowed parishioners to visit the relics of the saints. Wooden roofs were replaced with stone vaults, and buttresses were used to contain the outward thrust of the thick, heavy building style. Inside the worship spaces, multi-colored diaphragm arches, arches that separated space in the hall, lent graceful massing of shapes. Many Romanesque buildings were rebuilt during the Gothic period, especially in prosperous regions, but important examples of the style remain, including Saint Michael's Church in Hildesheim, Germany.


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