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Early Christian Architecture

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Early Christian Architecture

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Early Christian Architecture

  1. 1. Abhishek K. Venkitaraman Assistant Professor HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE LECTURE 6 Early Christian & Genesis of Church Architecture Main reference: HANOI ARCHITECTURE UNIVERSITY 2014-2015
  2. 2. GENERAL INFLUENCES
  3. 3. MEDIEVAL ERA DECLINE OF ROME • “Dark Ages”, but not for urban design URBAN SETTINGS • Military strongholds, castles, monasteries, towns MILITARY STRONGHOLDS • Acropolis and Capitoline Hill CASTLES • Built atop hills, enclosed by circular walls • Radiocentric growth **
  4. 4. DECLINE OF ROME
  5. 5. GEOGRAPHICAL GEOLOGICAL CLIMATE
  6. 6. GEOGRAPHICAL
  7. 7. Christianity had its birth in Judaea , an eastern province of the roman empire, spread and carried by St.Peter, St.Paul and other missionaries to Rome, as the center of the World – Empire.
  8. 8. Early Christian architecture at Rome was influenced by, and was the logical outcome of, existing Roman architecture, modified in other parts of the empire according to the type already recognized as suitable for the geographical situation of those countries, such as Syria, asia minor , north Africa, and Egypt
  9. 9. GEOLOGICAL Geological influences may be said to have acted indirectly on Early Christian architecture for the ruins of roman building often provided the quarry where obtained. This influenced the style, both as regards construction and decoration
  10. 10. . Columns and other architectural features, as well as fine sculptures and mosaics from older building, were incorporated into basilican churches of the new faith.
  11. 11. CLIMATIC
  12. 12. North Italy has the climate of the temperate region of Europe . Center Italy is genial and sunny. Southern Italy is almost tropical. This variety of climatic condition is sufficient to account for diversity of architectural features and treatment in the peninsula itself
  13. 13. The climatic conditions in Roman provinces as Egypt , Syria, and North Africa where christianity was established were varied , and naturally modified the style in those countries where the fiercer sun and hotter climatic necessitated small windows and other Eastern features.
  14. 14. RELIGIOUS SOCIAL HISTORICAL
  15. 15. I- Religious • In all human history there is no record so striking as that of the rise of Christianity a phenomenon so outstanding as the rapidity with which it was diffused throughout the civilized world, and, not only in this period but also in all subsequent ages. • Christianity has inspired the building of some of the greatest architectural monuments.
  16. 16. The number of Christian communities established by the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys round the Eastern Mediterranean, in Syria, Africa, Greece, and Italy, might lead us to expect many more ruins of Early Christian basilican churches throughout these districts. Old St. Peter's Basilica
  17. 17. • In this connection, however, it must be remembered that the God preached by S. Paul was " not like unto gold or silver or stone graven by art and device of man," nor a God that dwelled " in temples made with hands " like those of the old Greeks and Romans which were built to shelter the statues of the gods. • Purpose of the Christian church was to shelter worshippers who met for prayer and praise to an unseen Deity, and, during the unsettled conditions at the beginning of Christianity, various places were adapted for this worship. • Building of pagan temples ceased before any attempt was made to build Christian churches. • In A.D. 313 Constantine issued his celebrated decree from Milan, giving Christianity equal rights with other religions. • in A.D. 323 he himself professed Christianity, which became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and the Christians then began to build churches of a type suit-able to their needs and ritual.
  18. 18. II-Social • Constantine changed the capital of the Empire from Rome to Byzantium in A.D. 324, when the old Roman political system came to an end, and reigned as an absolute monarch till his death in A.D. 337. • Christianity suffered disabilities upon the division of the Roman Empire, which first took place in A.D. 365 when Valentinian became Emperor of the West and his brother Valens of the East. Colossal marble head of Emperor Constantine the Great, Roman, 4th century
  19. 19. Theodosius the Great (A.D. 379-395) reunited, for a time, the Eastern and Western Empires, and in A.D. 438 Theodosius II published his legal code, an important work on the constitutions of the Emperors from the time of Constantine. The series of Emperors in the West came to an end in A.D. 475, and the Eastern and Western Empires were nominally reunited by Zeno, who reigned at Constantinople. Theodosius the Great Zeno depicted on a Tremissis; the coin's design celebrates Zeno's victories, and was issued during his second reign.
  20. 20. -Then again the seat of power was changed, and Theodoric the Goth reigned in Italy (A.D. 493–526) during a period of peace and prosperity -Byzantine art influenced Early Christian art by way of Ravenna, which rivaled Rome in importance and was the capital of the Gothic Dynasty A.D. 493–552 with the exception of a short period when it was subdued by Justinian (A.D. 537) Bronze statue of Theoderic the Great -Kings were now elected for the separate states of Spain, Gaul, Northern Africa, and Italy, where King Odoacer recognized the supremacy of the one Roman Emperor at Constantinople. -Emancipation of Western Europe from direct Imperial control resulted in the development of Romano- Teutonic civilization, it facilitated the growth of new states and nationalities, gave a fresh impulse to Christianity, and eventually strengthened the power of the Bishops of Rome.
  21. 21. Mausoleum of Galla Placidia Basilica of San Vitale
  22. 22. III- Historical • The Early Christian period is generally taken as lasting from Constantine to the death of Gregory the Great (A.D. 604), although in Rome and many Italian cities it continued up to the tenth century. • Huns incursions into Germany about A.D. 376 eventually brought about invasions from the north into Italy, and in A.D. 410 Rome itself was sacked by the Goths under Alaric. Spread of the new religion was arrested during this period of change and upheaval, till A.D. 451, the defeat of Attila, King of the Huns, at the battle of Chalons aided in the consolidation of Christianity in Europe Battle of Châlons
  23. 23. • In A.D. 568 the Lombards penetrated into Italy and held the northern part for 200 years. In A.D. 800 Charlemagne was crowned by the Pope in Rome, and from this date the Empire was styled the Holy Roman Empire, a title retained till A.D. 1800. Miniature depicting Pope Leo III crowning Charlemagne emperor on Christmas Day, 800
  24. 24. Under Pope Gregory the Great (A.D. 590–604) Early Christian architecture, the latest phase of Roman art, gradually fell into disuse, and for the next two centuries architectural development was practically at a standstill in Europe Even though the influence of Byzantium asserted itself, old Roman traditions were in abeyance till the time when Romanesque architecture gradually evolved. Pope Gregory dictating the Gregorian chant
  25. 25. Parts of an Early Christian Basilica 1) Propylaeum- the entrance building of a sacred precinct, whether church or imperial palace. 2) Atrium- in early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval architecture, the forecourt of a church; as a rule enveloped by four colonnaded porticoes. 3) Narthex- the entrance hall or porch proceding the nave of a church. 4) Nave- the great central space in a church. In longitudinal churches, it extends from the entrance to the apse (or only to the crossing if the church has one) and is usually flanked by side aisles. 5) Side Aisle- one of the corridors running parallel to the nave of a church and separated from it by an arcade or colonnade. 6) Crossing- the area in a church where the transept and the nave intersect. 7) Transept- in a cruciform church, the whole arm set at right angles to the nave. Note that the transept appears infrequently in Early Christian churches. Old St. Peter's is one of the few example of a basilica with a transept from this period. The transept would not become a standard component of the Christian church until the Carolingian period. 8) Apse- a recess, sometimes rectangular but usually semicircular, in the wall at the end of a Roman basilica or Christian church. The apse in the Roman basilica frequently contained an image of the Emperor and was where the magistrate dispensed laws. In the Early Christian basilica, the apses contained the "cathedra" or throne of the bishop and the altar. Old St. Peter's in Rome
  26. 26. Parts of an Early Christian Basilica 1)Propylaeum 2) Atrium- 3) Narthex- 4) Nave-. 5) Side Aisle- 6) Crossing- 7) Transept- 8) Apse- a recess, Old St. Peter's in Rome
  27. 27. •Early Christian architecture may be taken to have lasted from about 300 to 600 AD. •The Early Christians, as Roman craftsmen, continued old Roman traditions •Utilized as far as possible the materials from Roman temples which had become useless for their original purpose for their new buildings. •Their churches, modeled on Roman basilicas, used old columns which by various devices were brought to a uniform height. •Early Christian buildings hardly have the architectural value of a style produced by the solution of constructive problems. EARLY CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE- INTRODUCTION
  28. 28. o Basilican churches had either closely spaced columns carrying the entablature, or more widely spaced columns carrying semicircular arches.
  29. 29. o The basilican church with there or five aisles, covered by a simple timber roof, is typical of the Early Christian style as opposed to the vaulted Byzantine church with its central circular dome placed over a square by means of pendentives and surrounded by smaller domes.
  30. 30. o It s long perspective of oft-repeated columns which carry the eye along to the sanctuary; a treatment which, combined with the comparatively low height of interiors, makes these churches appear longer than they really are, as it seen in S. Paolo fuori le Mura, and S. Maria Maggiore
  31. 31. An old Syrian Christian church with architectural similarities of a temple in Chengannur, Alappuzha, Kerala
  32. 32. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH BUILDING The church building as we know it grew out of a number of features of the Ancient Roman period: 1. The house church 2. The atrium 3. The basilica 4. The bema 5. The mausoleum: centrally-planned building 6. The cruciform ground plan: Latin or Greek cross a . S i m p l i c i t y i n D e s i g n a n d T r e a t m e n t b . C o a rs e n e s s i n E xe c u t i o n Early Christian Architecture is Transitional Architecture and have no own structure
  33. 33. 2. Atrium When Early Christian communities began to build churches they drew on one particular feature of the houses that preceded them, the atrium, or courtyard with a colonnade surrounding it. Most of these atriums have disappeared. A fine example remains at the Basilica of San Clemente (Rome) ATRIUM
  34. 34. 3. Basilica Basilica typical plan. Types of Apse A, A, apse 1. Semi-circular (Italian) B,B’, secondary apse 2. Polygonal (German) C, high altar 3. Square (English) G, transept 4. Compound (French) H, nave J,J’, aisles Interior of a basilica at Pompeii Is a rectangular early Christian or medieval church, usually having a nave with clerestories, two or four aisles, one or more vaulted apses, and a timber roof
  35. 35. 4. Mausoleum Monumental form of tomb. A mausoleum is a house of the dead, although ii is often as much a symbol as a sepulcher. This term has been employed for large, monumental, and stately tombs, usually erected for distinguished or prominent individuals. Mauseleum of Costantia (d. 534), featured a taller, domed, central circular section surrounded by a vaulted ambulatory.
  36. 36. 5. Latin cross and Greek cross Greek cross; Latin cross; rotunda These terms usually refer to the shape of a church. A Greek cross church has four arms having the same length. A Latin cross church has the arm of the entrance longer than the other arms. Greek cross- the plans of SS. Martina e Luca) Rotunda- the plans of S. Bernardo alle Terme Latin cross plan- building process of S. Pietro in Vaticano
  37. 37. Latin cross Plan
  38. 38. Greek cross Plan
  39. 39. BUILDING MATERIALS & CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
  40. 40. STRUCTURE SYSTEM • PLANS USED BY EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
  41. 41. BASILICA: Typical plan. A, D, apse B, B’, secondary apse; C, high altar; G, transept; H, nave; J, J’, aisles Types of Apse 1. Semi-circular (Italian) 2. Polygonal (German) 3. Square (English) 4. Compound (French)
  42. 42. CHURCHES
  43. 43. PRINCIPAL STRUCTURE CHURCHES
  44. 44. D. Roofs • Timber roofs covered the central nave, and only simple forms of construction, such as king and queen post trusses, were employed. • The narrower side aisles were occasionally vaulted and the • Apse was usually domed and lined with beautiful glass mosaics, which formed a fitting background to the sanctuary .
  45. 45. BYZANTINE ARCHITECTURE 330 A.D. TO 1443 A.D. AND LATER
  46. 46. Byzantine was renamed after its imperial founder ‘Byzantine Constantinople’ and was inaugurated as the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD. This is situated at the junction of Europe ad Asia, in addition it was a big centre of trade and commerce. Geographical Influence Byzantine stood on seven hills. It is at the junction of Europe and Asia, which are divided by a narrow strip of water. This gives the commanding and central position for government to expand the Roman empire. It was also at the intersection of two great highways of commerce- the water highway between black sea and Mediterranean sea and the trade route between Europe and Asia.
  47. 47. Constantinople had no good building stone there fore local material such as clay for bricks and rubble for concrete had to be imported. Marble was brought from quarries in the island and along the shores of eastern Mediterranean sea to Constantinople. •Climatic influence The climate was rather Hot, therefore small windows at high level and few openings were used. Flat roof in combination with domes and the open courtyards surrounded by sheltering arcades features are predominant. •Regional influence Constantine established Christianity as the state religion of Roman Empire and it followed that the chief erected in byzantine is new capital were churches for new region.
  48. 48. Architectural Character It represents fusion of oriental and roman classical Architecture. The massive decoration had its origin in the ‘Babylonian Style’ while dome construction was incorporated from Rome. Horizontal lands were introduced the domical roof created an impression of vast enclosed space. Interiors were decorated with massive glass work. Planning Use of centrals square plans. On square divisions to accommodate domes for roofing system is the measure characteristic feature. Modifications in Basilican plan consisted of a. Deletion of atrium court b. Incorporation of Narthex or vestibule as on Basilica of Constantinople c. Deletion of Belfry towers. Square plan of the eastern churches were termed as ‘Greek Cross Plans’
  49. 49. Forms The form of eastern churches was mainly characterized faithful correspondence between internal and external roof profiles. A smooth profile due to absence of belfry towers, just a position of dome on the sky line gives the style a distinct character in strong contrast of the spiky profile of early Christian churches. Externally Byzantine churches were characterized by brick work in courses and marble bands on the brick walls. Practice of horizontal bands of marble called striations was introduced. The structural use of marginal columns made them massive.
  50. 50. Byzantine Dome A primitive form of dome and the barrel vault is of great quality. In some districts vaults were compelled to built-in stone, brick or mud, because there was no wood and tools to work. In all such cases some form of dome or tunnel vault had to devised for shelter. In tracing the growth of the dome in horizontal times, it has been regarded as an out come of the eastern empire, because it was at Constantinople and in the byzantine province that it was employed in ecclesiastical structure. But it was the Romans who in reality developed the use of dome as of all other applications of the semicircular arch from Rome, gets carried to Constantinople and from the same source different parts of western empire.
  51. 51. HAGIA SOPHIA
  52. 52. HAGIA SOPHIA
  53. 53. TIMELINE http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/201206/Hagia-Sophia/#vars!date=0313-02- 01_00:00:00!
  54. 54. TIMELINE http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/201206/Hagia-Sophia/#vars!date=0313-02- 01_00:00:00!
  55. 55. General facts and features Hagia Sophia or the church of the holy wisdom is the most accomplished master piece in the history of architecture The church was constructed in 532 A.D. by Emperor Justinian in Constantinople now Istanbul Hagia Sophia was the greatest vaulted space without intermediate supports that has ever been built and it remained so throughout the history of the Byzantine Empire. Its architects were Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, professors of geometry at the University of Constantinople The church provides an expert solution to the problem of how to place a dome on a square base The solution was to use pendentives
  56. 56. Hagia Sophia is covered by a central dome 102 feet (31 m) across, slightly smaller than the Pantheon's The dome seems rendered weightless by the unbroken arcade of arched windows under it, which help flood the colorful interior with light The dome is carried on pendentives The weight of the dome passes through the pendentives to four massive piers at the corners
  57. 57. Between them the dome seems to float upon four great arches These four concave triangular sections of masonry solved the problem of setting the circular base of a dome on a rectangular base The church form is a combination of centralized and longitudinal structure Longitudinal direction is defined by domes to the east and west
  58. 58. St.Mark’s Venice, Greek Cross Plan
  59. 59. St Mark is also a notable example of Byzantine architecture It lies on St Mark's Square, one of the most famous squares in the world The church has five domes each topping a square The church is based on a Greek cross floor plan, based on part on the Hagia Sophia and the Basilica of the Apostles, both in Constantinople Each arm of the cross is of the same length and is covered by a dome A dome also covers the square space at the center While the basic structure of the building has been little altered, its decoration changed greatly over time The front façade is Gothic and was added much later http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/byzantine/bf1.html
  60. 60. Buildings and other Architectural Elements Early Christian and Byzantine architecture was a continuation from the Roman Empire Buildings and building practices continued from the Roman period to the Early Christian and Byzantine period All Roman civic and Residential buildings were used during the Early Christian and Byzantine period The only new element and the focus in the examination of the Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture is the Christian church The spread of Christianity in Rome led to the evolution of the Christian place of worship The form of the early church was not new but an adaptation of the Roman Basilica The Byzantine church form evolved much later than the Early Christian church forms
  61. 61. Materials, Construction and Techniques The Early Christian and Byzantine period also had access to similar building materials and construction technology as the Roman civilization Where materials were not available, they were imported from colonies of the empire In construction technology, the greatest contribution during the Early Christian and Byzantine era was the discovery of the pendentive and Dome on pendentive Using pendentives and Dome on pendentive, Byzantine architects were able to adapt the circular profile of a dome roof to a square plan By using several overlapping domes, Byzantine architects were able to create an intricate interior structural system and external roof system Intricate interior structural systems combined with decoration and lighting created fascinating interior effects The Early Christian and Byzantine period saw the most extensive use of clerestory windows From early basilica churches to Byzantine churches, clerestory windows were used to provide lighting in the interior of churches and together with decoration enabled the creation of interesting interiors
  62. 62. Principles of Architectural Organization Religious Ritual Symbolism Construction Technology
  63. 63. Religious Ritual The various ritual that comprise Christian religious worship played a fundamental part in the evolution of the Christian place of worship Design closely mirror rituals of the religion The initial choice of the Basilica was because of its easy adaptability to a Christian church Later when practices started changing, the alternative church forms evolved Ritual practices and function played a more significant influence on church form during the Early Christian period than during the Byzantine period
  64. 64. Symbolism Symbolism also played a significant role in the evolution of the form of the Christian church Spirituality and mysticism were integrated into the experience of church spaces During Christian architecture, Symbolism in the experience of space become a predominant issue in design The use of light and decoration to create fascinating interiors but function still predominated During the Byzantine period the Church itself became a symbol of the faith The Church is viewed as a house of god and its design and construction as a reflection of this symbolism The scale of the church was therefore increased and its decoration became more complex In this respect we see a contrast between an overriding emphasis in Early Christian architecture on function and rituals, and in Byzantine architecture on symbolism
  65. 65. MEDIEVAL ERA TOWN DESIGN ** 3 MAJOR EVENTS MARKING TRANSITION FROM MEDIEVAL TIMES • Dawn of science • Fall of Constantinople • Discovery of the New World
  66. 66. THANK YOU

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