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During the 11th and 12th centuries, for the first time since the Roman Empire, all of Europe felt the influence of a single artistic style. This Romanesque style was spurred on by the increased monasticism and the pilgrimages that became more and more popular during the period. Abbeys and pilgrimages churches were constructed to accommodate the influx of monks and pilgrims, and as the number of worshippers grew, so did the scale of the buildings.

Increased size created new architectural challenges for the builders of the Romanesque cathedrals. Wood roofs, which were easily destroyed in fire, gave way to stone vaulting. The mainstay of Romanesque architecture, the barrel vault, necessitated a large amount of support. The result was thick, load-bearing walls with few windows, giving the cathedrals a heavy-looking and simple style.

As the name suggests, the cathedrals were based on the ancient Roman basilica plan, with a nave, transept, and apse. To house the increasing number of relics that became immensely popular during this period, radiating chapels were added around the apse. A large, second-floor gallery and an ambulatory surrounding the nave made room so that crowds of pilgrims could visit without disturbing an abbey's monks at prayer.


The Renaissance

The Renaissance is characterized by a focus on the arts of Ancient Greece and Rome, which led to many changes in both the technical aspects of painting and sculpture, as well as to their subject matter. It began in Italy, a country rich in Roman heritage as well as material prosperity to fund artists. During the Renaissance, painters began to enhance the realism of their work by using new techniques in perspective, thus representing three dimensions more authentically. Artists also began to use new techniques in the manipulation of light and darkness, such as the tone contrast evident in many of Titian's portraits and the development of sfumato and chiaroscuro by Leonardo da Vinci. Sculptors, too, began to rediscover many ancient techniques such as contrapposto. Following with the Humanist spirit of the age, art became more secular in subject matter, depicting ancient mythology in addition to Christian themes. This genre of art is often referred to as Renaissance Classicism. In the North, the most important Renaissance innovation was the widespread use of oil paints, which allowed for greater colour and intensity.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 952

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