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Renaissance Vs Middle Ages Architecture Essay

990 words - 4 pages

From innovative advancements to grand masterpieces, the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods were pivotal periods in our history that today are still greatly recognizable and appreciated for their beauty and awe inspiring captivation of humanity. The Middle Ages, a time of great turmoil, forced people to seek order in their lives and stay alive through dependence on community while the Renaissance period pushed the boundaries of personal enlightenment and ‘rebirth’ of classical humanism. Throughout the 700 year period, the development and advancements of innovations, art, and humanities clearly deviates between the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, displaying a striking portrayal of ...view middle of the document...

Challenged with plagues and illnesses throughout the centuries, societies endured the pressures of a difficult economy, reducing populations, and societal unrest. The infamous and devastating “Black Death” drove continued economic and societal turmoil until the slowdown in the late 15th century. After the ‘Black Death’ started to taper off, the population greatly increased and a new economic middle class emerged that contributed to the flourishing times and rebuild of the Renaissance.

Similarities amongst the two periods in addition to the onset of dramatic plagues and newborn illnesses included the consistent subject of religion in artwork, sculptures, and architectural inspirations. Although reflected through different observations, the importance of religion during both periods is evident through biblical storytelling of heroes including David of David and Goliath.
With very few similarities, there were however many vast differences between the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. During the Middle Ages there was a dependency on community and the Catholic Church controlled much of everyday life (Bishop, 1968) whereas the Renaissance brought about education, embracement of life, and naturalism resulting in Renaissance art portraying humanism (Renaissance, 2002). While medieval art was meant to teach a lesson, Renaissance art glorified the humanity of the individuals being portrayed.

In addition to advancements in science, art, education, and societal culture, architecture also changed during the two time periods. Termed ‘gothic architecture’ the Middle Ages evolved from the Romanesque architecture of the 6th to 10th century (Middle Ages, 2001). Characteristically known for the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress, this period produced many of the great castles, cathedrals, abbeys, and churches, including the Notre Dame de Paris in France (Middle Ages, 2001). With no hemispherical domes or columns, the Notre Dame is considered one of most famous buildings of this time period. With focal point gargoyles built for water run-off and additional small statues used for outside column supports, the building’s overshadowing appearance and intricate stained glass windows show the heavy influence of naturalism during this time...

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