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Early christian architecture


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Published in: Education, Spiritual

Early christian architecture

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION • The vast Roman Empire spanning from the main lands of Italy, Greece extending up to England & France in the north, as well as encircled around the Mediterranean Sea confronting with Asia Minor & North Africa was subject to dismantling due to lack of central power. • The vast empire was divided into Western & Eastern empires. • The rich western province centred around Rome was obviously the target for invaders who destroyed the city. Europe Asia Minor Mediterranean Sea African Continent Western Empire Eastern Empire Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan 117 AD • These confrontations resulted in the migration of artisans, craftsmen, masons to other developing countries – eastern province which were less hazardous. • Due to this fact the WP faced discontinuation of construction tradition & caused overall deteoriation in building skills.
  3. 3. • On the contrary, the eastern province which accepted the migrated population was provided with continuation of Roman structural techniques. • The western empire was centred around Rome while the Eastern empire flourished around Constantinople (currently, Istanbul), which was strategically located on trade route by sea – connecting Asia & North Africa by Europe. • Christianity was born in Judea – a place in eastern province of the Roman empire, which spread towards the north & west even against the backdrop of great opposition & ultimately accepted as state religion. • The formulation phase of Christianity & its architecture can be considered from Constantine period (300 AD) to Charlemagne (800 AD – French ruler). • The development of Christian Architecture thus can be divided into the following phases:
  4. 4. • In these phases, architectural development experienced the formulation phase, alterations & development in plans, profile surroundings & concluded with imitation of classical structures & mannerism. • The development of Christian architecture in general proved beneficial in establishing new norms, new construction features, new materials, different types of façade treatments & also versatile construction analysis. • The phases proved beneficial not only for the religious architecture but also for secular, domestic, commercial & Mediterranean development. EARLY CHRISTIAN & BYZANTINE ROMANESQUE GOTHIC RENAISSANCE 300 AD 800 AD 1200 AD 1500 AD 1700 AD • Examples for Early Christian Architecture: • St. Clemente, Rome • St. Peters (Old), Rome
  5. 5. FROM AGORA TO BASILICAN CHURCH • Greece – • Agora (Assembly or gathering place) • Served as a marketplace • Rome – • Forums – centre Roman public life • Venue for public speeches, criminal trials & gladiatorial matches. • Basilica – part of Forum. • Served as place for giving justice & transacting business. • The layout of Basilicas was, by extension used for Christian churches, having the same form. Basilica Ulpia Basilica Amelia
  6. 6. FROM AGORA TO BASILICAN CHURCH View of a typical EC basilica - church Plan of a typical EC Basilica Plan: Forum of Trajan with Basilica Ulpia
  7. 7.  Commonest form of the early church.  Unlike the earlier Roman phase, the interiors were give more importance than exterior.  Rectangular hall, timber-roofed with coffers & richly glided ceiling (hiding the roof truss) on nave.  Usually with one or two aisles to each side of the central nave separated by rows of rustic marble columns, sometimes carrying flat entablatures & sometimes, rows of arches.  The width of aisles was half that of the central nave.  Apse at one end facing the principal entrances at the other end.  Bema / Transept – a raised platform where altar was placed & from where the clergy officiated.  A courtyard (atrium) having a central fountain for ablutions & surrounded by colonnaded ambulatory. A TYPICAL BASILICAN CHURCH Plan of a typical EC Basilica
  8. 8.  A narthex – corresponding to entrance foyer, preceding the nave.  The nave & bema received light from clerestory above the aisles & were pierced with windows.  Above aisles & between clerestory windows, the walls may be faced with marble, or mosaics made up from small tesserae of coloured glass.  The nave terminates into a ‘triumphal arch’, perhaps having iridescent (brightly coloured & changing) mosaics.  The semicircular walls of the apse ended into a dome, whose interiors had mosaics depicting narrative scenes from Bible or single figures seen against stylised landscapes or plain gold grounds.  The flooring was of grey-white & black marble, inlaid with geometric patterns of coloured marble.  The columns, capitals & similar features from old Roman buildings were frequently reused to enhance the liveliness of the interiors.  In the new churches, arches were more often used to span between columns of a colonnade instead of flat entablatures.
  9. 9. EXAMPLE 1 – ST. PETERS (OLD), ROME (C. 320-330 AD)
  10. 10. BASILICA OF ST. PETERS (OLD), ROME  Present day St. Peters in Vatican City – a rebuilding of a totally different design & on a substantially enlarged scale.  Built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero under the rule of Emperor Constantine I in c. 320AD  The original church survived without much change until towards the end of 15th Century & the nave for another century.  Remains of old foundation are present below the present flooring but details of atrium are obscure.  Dimensions: 110.0m long x 64.0m wide with double aisles on both sides.  The nave was divided from aisles by 22 varied (size & colour), huge & antique marble columns with equally varied capitals supporting the nave walls on a horizontal entablature, while similar numbers of shorter columns carrying arcades divided aisle from aisle.  It was built in the shape of Latin cross, with a gable roof, timbered on inside & at 30.0m high at centre.  An atrium known as Garden of Paradise stood at the entrance with 5 doors.  The nave ended with an arch & the walls had parallel windows each with frescos.
  11. 11. Mausoleum of Honorius Rotunda of S. Andrew - PreConstantinian APSE AISLE AISLE NAVE AISLE AISLE ALTAR TRANSEPT ATRIUM (DETAILS UNCERTAIN) Plan of Old St. Peters Basilica, Rome (c.320)
  12. 12. EXAMPLE 2 – ST. CLEMENTE, ROME (Early 12th Century)
  13. 13. • St. Clemente Basilica, Rome Colosseum St. Clemente
  14. 14. ST. CLEMENTE, ROME  First Basilica - Dedicated to Pope St. Clemente I.  Dimensions: 45.0 m x 25.0 m with width of nave as 13.0 m.  Most interesting example of the continued Roman use of early basilican plan until well into Romanesque period.  The present day (Roman Catholic minor basilica) church is actually a 3-tiered complex of buildings: o Lower part – 2 structures: 1st century house of a Roman noble & a 2nd century pagan temple dedicated to God Mitra. o Middle part – 4th century (c.380 AD) Old church dedicated to St. Clemente. o Top part – Early 12th century (c.1100 AD) Romanesque church – replica of the earlier church.
  15. 15. 1 – Apse 2 – Portico 3- Central Atrium 4 – Men’s Aisle 5 - Ladies Aisle 6 – Choir with Gospel & Epistle Ambo 7 - Altar NARTHEX NAVE AISLE AISLE St. Clemente, Rome Plan & Section
  16. 16. ST. CLEMENTE, ROME