The Architecture of a Medieval and Renaissance World-View
The art styles during the medieval and renaissance period were very distinct from each other. Each style had its own concept, dominant theme and techniques. Architecture was one of the obvious evidences that clearly separate these two art periods. The aesthetic and designs used for Medieval and Renaissance architecture were very diverse giving each style with their own trademarks.
The medieval architecture had been principally influenced by Roman and Gothic art styles. Since Christianity was at its peak during the medieval age, there was a high demand for places of worship. As a result, a surge in the construction of churches took place wherein religion played a major role in designing and decorating the structures. One of the main features of medieval architecture was the Roman vaulting. At St. Sernin Cathedral, the vaulted arch created a “wider nave and sound construction.” Overall, the design was predominantly Romanesque because of the “symmetrical design, the single tower and the less ornate use of decorations.” Meanwhile, the Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral, pointed arches were used to make walls look taller and thinner. Also, ‘flying buttresses’ were incorporated as “exterior support for propping up the buildings” (Urton, n.d.).
The difference of medieval architecture with renaissance architecture is that the former is asymmetrical and highly elaborate while the latter is balanced and refined. In the Renaissance, secularism was replaced by humanism wherein the fascination for the human form was intensified. Also, domes became a trademark of renaissance architecture and the interior of these domes were decorated with frescoes. The domes are usually located at the center of the churches or cathedrals (Library.thinkquest.org, n.d.). Some renaissance structures that possessed these features are the Church of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Maria del Fiore or Duomo which can be both found in Florence and St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome. Furthermore, “harmonious form, mathematical proportion, and a unit of measurement based on the human scale” are the key elements of renaissance architecture (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008).
Library.thinkquest.org. (n,d,). Renaissance Architecture. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://library.thinkquest.org/16545/data/low/renai.htm
Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2008). Architecture in Renaissance Italy. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/itar/hd_itar.htm
Urton, R. (n.d.). Medieval Art. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.eyeconart.net/history/medieval.htm