Romanesque – means “Roman-like”
-there were a broad range of styles embracing many regional
variants that flourished in Western Europe in the 11th and 12th
There is no consensus for the beginning date of the
Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the
6th to the 10th century.
It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,
marked by pointed arches.
The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to
as Norman architecture.
Romanesque reflects not only Roman characteristics but also
the Hiberno-Saxon linear patterns and even some Islamic and
It's the first European style. It can be found all around
• Romanesque art developed thanks to a series of causes:
– The end of Barbarian invasions
– The decomposition of Cordoba’s caliphate
– The establishment of peace in
the Christian world, with the
development of the cities,
commerce and industry.
• The factors of the expansion of Romanesque arte were:
– Development of feudal system,
that demanded works (castles)
– The expansion of religious orders (Benedictines), expanded the
– The pilgrimage routes
– The crusades
• There are three main architectonical typologies:
Features of Romanesque architecture that is seen in different areas
•Small churches are generally aiseless, with a projecting apse.
•Large churches are basilical with a nave flanked by aisles and divided by
•Abbey churches and cathedrals often had transepts.
•Round arches in arcades, windows, doors and vaults.
•Buttresses of shallow projection
•Portals with sculpture and moldings
•Decorative arcades as an external feature, and frequently internal also
Some large churches have projecting transepts as at Pisa Cathedral.
Towers are freestanding and may be circular as at Pisa.
Windows are small.
The façade takes two forms, that which coincides with the basilical
section of nave and aisles, as at Pisa Cathedral and that which screens
the form, such as San Michele, Pavia.
Dwarf galleries are the prevalent form of decoration on the façade as
at Pisa Cathedral.
•A number of churches have facades and interiors that are faced with
polychrome marble, as at San Miniato al Monte.
•Portals were rarely large and were square rather than round.
•Shallow relief carving in marble was a feature of some facades.
•Ocular and Wheel windows are commonly found in facades
•Portals are sometimes covered by an open porch supported on two
columns standing on the backs of lions.
•Internally, large churches generally have arcades resting on columns of
•There is little emphasis on vertical mouldings.
•The wall surface above the arcade was covered with decorative marble,
mosaic or fresco.
•Galleries such as that at Pisa were uncommon, but occur in convent
churches as nuns' galleries.
•Open timber roofs prevailed.
•The crossing is often covered by a dome.
•The choir may be above a vaulted crypt, accessible from the nave or
•Freestanding polygonal baptisteries were common.
•Cloisters often have an array of elaborately twisted columns, and
fanciful decoration in mosaic tiles.
They recover the “round arch” used by the
The church is covered by stoned vaults,
called barrel vault, which is a succession of
round arches, one after another.
The structure is very heavy and as
Walls are thick
They need strong buttresses
They use few and small
• Intimate Sensation
• Spiritual Sensation
• Symbolism: Latin cross
• It was the main building
• It symbolized God’s kingdom
• The holiest part was the apse
• It had cross shape
• Symbolism was important:
– Circular parts reflect perfection so they were linked to God
– Squared parts are related to the human.
– Monumental, trying to imitate the Roman models in the Pilgrimage
– Small in country churches
– They were designed for advertising Catholic church
– They were lasting, made of stone
– Plans could be:
• Latin cross
Latin cross Polygonal Basilical
• The church is covered by stoned vaults
• Wall are thick
• They need strong buttresses
• Foundations are strong
• Few windows
• Interior elevation: it consists of three
• First floor with columns or cross-
• Second floor with the tribune (corridor
over looking the nave, over the aisles)
• Clerestory: area of windows opening to
Types of Covers
Barrel vault: it was
used mainly to
cover the central
Groin vault was
common in aisles
Dome: spherical domes
were used in apses. The
central domes could
stand on pendentives or
• It was designed as a microcosm, as the city of God
• They had several dependencies:
– Chapter room
– Abbot’s house
– Monks/ nuns rooms
• Castles were defensive constructions
• They were fortified for providing shelter
• The wall was one of the essential elements
• They tend to be build in stepped areas, easier to defend.