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Contribution of Normans to the Romanesque Architecture, Essay Example

Pages: 1

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Essay

The Norman reconstructed the French buildings which proved to be a turning point in the European Architecture. Do you agree?

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the innovative and decorative architectural monuments constructed by the Normans from Normandy, who invaded France in the 10th century and settled down to stay in the 11th. The paper is based on the information from the textbooks which highlights the immaculate designs, solid geometric coordination in the designs and developments of the Durham Cathedral, Abbey Church of Cluny II and III, which represents the vertical expression of high Romanesque architecture, which totally differs from the previous Architecture in the European culture. The content is based on various designs and its finely constructed building features which provide an insight to the revolution to the old and traditional European buildings.

 

Introduction:

The biggest achievement of the Norman builders was the Durham Cathedral which was built in the 1093 and proved to be a definitive building of the Anglo-Norman Romanesque. William, the Conqueror along with his people reconstructed the 400 feet scale in length, with the double-bay scheme of Jumieges with its alternating pier forms and smaller, divided gallery openings. The church has a Latin cross plan like the French Romanesque and the nave has a thick wall and uses relieving arches. It has the rib vaulting which is the structural function like a key stone that holds the vault panel.

Architectural and Decorative approach:

The decorative revolution was the monumental frame, with strong archivolts and ornamental zigzag patterns, diaper work, and fluting incised into minor piers. The architectural approach proved to be the three part elevation of the nave wall which has aisles with gallery and clerestory over, where the wall relieves the arches which shift the weight of the central vault out to the outer walls which solved the geometric difficulties as well as to give vertical impulse to the interior. The extension of the linear wall articulation led into the vaulting zone built by the Norman Romanesque; hence these eccentric patterns changed the face of the Norman rationalism to a more insular tradition in England.
According to the book called Architecture from Prehistory to Post-modernity (2002), Durham was a turning point in the history of European architecture, as its precocious rib vaulting was to prove crucial for the continental architects, both the Norman and French, who created the Gothic architecture. French and England influences have taken the Durham Cathedral to another level, where the cathedral shows the beginning of buttressing system, using modern arches that take the weight of central nave and distribute it to the exterior. In spite of the arches, the dimension of the arches is not equal, which means it still has the same geometric problem like the previous vaulting system.

The idea was to transform the churches into cut stone, which changed the architectural and decorative traditions to a certain extent. The new tactics such as pointed arch ribs and rib vaulting, alternating double bay system with thick piers. For the Abbey of Cluny, the development of layered wall system was highly refined with details on the walls and became thinner but much closer, allows for lightning to come and support vaulting system of the nave.

Influence of the Normans on the Gothic Architecture:

These monumental developments had influenced the European culture in France, where the rib vaults formed part of a decorative pattern more insular than continental, as well as the drift between the two traditions would characterize medieval English architecture through the fourteenth century. The reason behind the rib vaults is that they were used to support the weight of the vault.  The innovative Norman architecture left such a great influence over the Gothic architecture in a way that proved to be more glamorous and fanciful for the people of that century.

The Architecture from Prehistory to Post-modernity (2002) explains that the Church of St.-Etienne at Caen, possessed the towers that would dominate the French Gothic. However, the interior was very concerning, as it had the timber-roof. Therefore, a newer nave wall was constructed using the rib vault and the arcades were pushed up to the gallery and the building was expanded to its maximum. The architectural influence of the Normans had an impact on the Gothic style as the rib vaults demonstrated great improvement in the quality and superiority of the rib vault as compared to barrel vault, which were used to support the weight of the wall, which also helped in maximizing the height of the church.

 

References:

 

  1. Trachtenberg, Marvin and Hyman Isabelle. Architecture from Prehistory to Postmodernity. 2nd ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 2002. Print
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