Medieval architecture was known as Gothic architecture is a style of architecture used in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. It began inFrance in the 12th century after Romanesque architecture. It lasted into the16th century when Renaissance architecture became popular. Many church buildings still remain from this period. There are more then one type of Characteristics Medieval architecture
The Gothic Style. Beginning in 12thcentury France a new style of architectureand decoration emerged. At the time it wascalled simply "The French Style", but laterRenaissance critics, appalled at theabandonment of classical line andproportion, derisively called it "Gothic".This was a reference to the imagined lack ofculture of the barbarian tribes, including theGoths, which had ransacked Rome in thetwilight of the Roman Empire
Art in the Middle ages was inseparablefrom religion. It was infused with spiritualsymbolism and meaning. The purpose of artwas to awe and inspire the viewer with thegrandeur of God. It also served tosymbolize what people believed. PopeGregory the Great, he of the Gregorianchants, said, "painting can do for theilliterate what writing does for those whoread." He might have added that sculpturecould serve the same purpose.
RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE The early Medieval periods had seen a rapid growth in monasticism, with several different orders being prevalent and spreading their influence widely. Foremost were the Benedictines whose great abbey churches vastly outnumbered any others in England. A part of their influence was that they tended to build within towns, unlike the Cistercians whose ruined abbeys are seen in the remote countryside
MEDIEVAL CHURCHES Architecture played a very important role forthe church in Medieval England. The more splendidthe architecture, the more the church believed it waspraising God. The church in Medieval Englandpoured vast sums of money into the creation ofgrandiose architectural projects that peaked in thecathedrals at Canterbury and York. Medieval churches and cathedrals weresuperbly built. No peasant wattle and daub homesexist anymore as they were so crudely made. But thevast sums accrued by the church (primarily from thepoorer classes) gave it the opportunity to spend onlarge building projects. Many of the churches andcathedrals that survive from medieval times havealso had additions to them. Therefore, we canidentify different building styles in the samecomplete building.
The Romanesque Period. At the beginning of the Norman era the style of architecture that was invogue was known as Romanesque, because it copied the pattern and proportion of the architecture of theRoman Empire. The chief characteristics of the Romanesque style were barrel vaults, round arches, thickpiers, and few windows. The easiest point to look for is the rounded arch, seen in door openings andwindows. In general the Romanesque churches were heavy and solid, carrying about them an air ofsolemnity and gloom.
These early Norman churcheswere not always so stark as theyseem today, however. In their heydaythe church walls were hung withtapestries or painted richly. Thestatues of the saints were gilded (onsome you can still see traces of thepaint if you look closely), and theservice books were inlaid with gold,jewels, and ivory. Chalices andreliquaries were encrusted with gems