Romanesque architecture is usually called Western European architecture of the XI—XIII centuries. This is the historical style of the mature Middle Ages, which was preceded by the period of architecture of the early Middle Ages (V—X centuries). The architecture of the early Middle Ages is characterized by a certain decline in the level of development. The building achievements of the ancient Romans were largely lost, and the level of construction equipment declined. Developing feudal relations contributed to the emergence of new types of buildings: fortified dwellings of feudal lords, monastic complexes and religious buildings.
The fortified dwelling of the feudal lord-the castle-was usually built on an elevated, hard-to-reach place for the enemy. By the 10th century, a type of fortified dwelling was formed in the form of a donjon tower, surrounded by ramparts and a moat. Since the end of the XI century, the form of the donjon has become more complicated, a separate building is being built for the feudal lord’s dwelling, and the donjon becomes a defensive structure and a shelter. Typical features of castle architecture are massive walls and towers, narrow windows, an impregnable view, and stone fortress walls. Examples: the donjon in the castle of Loch in France; the castle in the old town of Carcassonne in the south of France.
Medieval monasteries were fiefdoms that had their own serfs. For the defense of vast lands, they maintained a large army. In the monasteries, church books and works on philosophy were copied, as well as works of a scientific nature were kept. The largest monastic schools eventually developed into universities: the Sorbonne in Paris, Padua, and Bologna. Therefore, in the buildings of universities, a large open courtyard surrounded by arcades on columns, leading from the monasteries, became an integral part of them. The monasteries, interested in receiving a large number of pilgrims, created large churches, in which all the means of architecture and art were aimed at surprising visitors with the grandeur of the building and the beauty of its interior.
During the period when the cities were in disrepair and the craft fell, and the secular feudal lords built their fortifications, architecture developed from the experience of building large monastic temples, large dining halls-refectories and bridges on the roads, in which the monastic fraternities were interested. The Romanesque architecture of Western Europe reflects local traditions and artistic tastes.
The southern and southwestern regions of France-Provence, Aquitaine, etc., which preserved their ties with the Mediterranean countries, Italy and Byzantium during the Romanesque period — developed their own traditions and constructive techniques. Here the hall type of the temple with one or three naves became widespread. In the design of the facades, the plastic richness, decorative and sculptural diversity of forms is noted, with the use of the arch of the Romanesque motif-the cathedral in Angouleme, France. By the end of the X century, a type of medieval church — basilica was formed, usually having a main, higher nave (span) and two low side ones. From the original cruciform church, a cross nave (transept) has passed into the basilica. Above the crossing of the aisles (the middle cross), a superstructure was made with large windows to illuminate the place where the church service took place. At the end of the main nave, behind the transept, was the main apse, where the altar was located. Later there was a roundabout around the altar in the form of a gallery, and the entire altar part, together with the roundabout, was called the choir.
In complete contrast to the simplicity of the Germanic temples were the Romanesque buildings of Italy, characterized by plasticity and ease of form. Classical forms (arcades, colonnades, antique details) were used in the design of facades and interiors. Along with the basilian buildings (Florence), the centric buildings of the baptisteries were also built here.
The Romanesque architecture of England was formed after the Norman conquest of the XI century, it is characterized by a combination of stone construction methods with architectural and construction techniques of wooden architecture of the Saxons. Another feature of Anglo-Norman churches is the extreme elongation of their main nave, as well as the location of the transept almost in the middle of the main nave.
Structures, tectonics.
The early wooden floors of Romanesque basilicas were replaced by vaulted structures — cylindrical and cross-shaped. The domes, erected at the intersection of the main nave and the transept, were supported on a rectangular base with sails or tromps (part of a cone). Along with the cylindrical vaults, the mass of the wall supports began to increase.
The use of cross vaults and spring arches for covering made it possible to concentrate efforts in the structure at separate points, which led to the dismemberment of the wall into a wall and buttress pillars, which were installed to receive the greatest spacer forces. This constructive scheme was the result of the development of Romanesque architecture and served as the basis for the development of Gothic. The interior of the Romanesque church is characterized by a clear division of space and structures. In the external composition, the structure is emphasized by the articulations of the walls:
Window and door openings have an arched end — semicircular, and in the late period pointed. The facades were decorated with decorative arcatures; on the western (main) facade, the entrances were framed by “perspective” portals in the form of rows of columns descending inward, covered with semicircular or (later) pointed archivolts.