Religious Evolution: Comparing Romanesque And Gothic Church Architecture

European Religious Significance

The Europeans believed heavily in religion. Their daily lives were based on religion. Religion was their drive, and they looked at religion as their motivation to do many things every day. All their actions were approved by the moral standards of the church. God was a physical person before it became a higher being that was not on earth. Churches in the Medieval Times had a significant role. The job of the church was to watch over the city and rule over the government. The church kept the dynamic of the community together, which is why so many civilians were committed to going to church. The church gave them a sense of peace and guidance to go through their everyday life challenges.

In addition, as stated, “The Church ran the first hospitals for the general population to cure and control the spread of diseases.” During this time period of the Medieval Times, architects were heavily invested in the architectural aspects of the buildings they started. The different styles were Romanesque, Middle Ages, Gothic Architecture, Early English Gothic Style, and Middle Ages Gothic Style.

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Romanesque Architecture: First and Second Periods

The first Romanesque style from the time period of 1000-1080 was a combination of the Byzantine and Roman. It originated from the basis of Christianity. This style consisted of basilica plans, vaulted ceilings, round arches, thick walls, symmetrical plans, and large columns. Due to the stone structures, the buildings were also dark and cold on the inside. These characteristics were expressed through paintings as well as in sculptures. The sculptures were not advanced; therefore, there was no dimension to this art.

Additionally, there were two Romanesque periods. The First Romanesque, given that name by architect Josep Puig I Cadafalch, was also called the Lombard Romanesque Style. It developed from north of Italy, parts of France, and the Iberian Peninsula in the 10th century prior to the later influence of the Abbey of Cluny. The structure that they stuck to during this time “is characterized by thick walls, lack of sculpture, and the presence of rhythmic ornamental arches known as a Lombard band.”

Now, as far as the Second Romanesque, it came with more developments within the churches. It is associated with the Cluniac monastic order originated from the abbey of Cluny located in Burgundy, France. The community of Cluny ordered for their buildings to be upgraded on a larger scale. Western Europe introduced this new movement of a splendid and precious religious spirit. It affected architectural practice. The architectural aspect of the Second Romanesque changed because their new objective was “to welcome, shelter, and embrace the faithful in a setting both stately and dignified, designed along perspective lines to give a sense of depth, all culminating in the ambulatory apse.”

So, they had a new way of being able to implement the idea that the community would feel welcomed by their new architectural designs. Cluny I, II, and III were the three successive churches. The largest building in Europe was the building of the third Cluny. This large building was a great success for them because they were escaping the prior style of the more simplistic buildings. In addition, the Second Romanesque was different from the First Romanesque because their buildings were now larger; they had more windows than the First Romanesque, but they did not have too many windows throughout their buildings. They were recognized as spiritual fortresses that were richly decorated along with these massive walls. This style reigned from the time frame of 1080 to 1200. The next period was called the Gothic style.

The Dawn of Gothic Style: Early Gothic to High Gothic

This Gothic Style was introduced after the religious revival of the 12th century and lasted until the 16th century. It was significantly different from the Romanesque style. This style introduced the “large expanses of glass, clustered columns, sharply pointed spires, intricate sculptures, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses. One of their main characteristics is the ogival, or pointed arch.” The beginning stage of this Gothic-style era lasted from 1154 to 1194. This was The Early Gothic Style.

This era introduced three-dimensional sculptures, which was astonishing for the community because this was a new concept and thing for them to see figures more realistically. Moreover, there were problems with the stone building that took place in the Romanesque period, so they introduced the use of lighter and airy techniques. Then, from 1194 to 1300, there was the High Gothic Style or the Rayonnant. This is where the Medieval Cathedrals come from. These Cathedrals were built “primarily for the glory of God and to be an inspiration that leads men in this earthly life to salvation… Another reason for the building of cathedrals was to be the houses for holy relics.” This was a place where the people came to have a spiritual outlet.

The ceilings were made high as well. This way, when a person enters the church, it is no longer a dark, cold atmosphere. The ceilings were made high in these Cathedrals. The reason behind that is that when an individual looks up, it is as if they are looking up to heaven.

Gothic Innovations: Stained Glass and Flamboyant Period

Moreover, a new edition to the building of these cathedrals was inputting stained glass for the windows. This outlines how it all got started, “Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis was a famous patron of stained glass art and lived just outside of Paris. He used the wealth of the abbey to make windows larger and more beautiful because he considered light the manifestation of God himself,” So, this explains their reasoning behind inputting the new glass stain windows.

The colors they used were also vibrant, and when the sun hits them, the color will come through. As previously stated, the light is a resemblance to the manifestation of God. Now, the pointed arches were two curved edges that met at a joint, which created the arch. The Flamboyant period was the last period of the Gothic style. It was different from the Rayonnant style because “These architectural designs were more colorful and vibrant than the “Rayonnant” style, focusing on flame-like curves in the stone window to give more of an even flow and to create even larger ceiling spaces. The style has grown and become more popular.

Many town halls and domestic residences were being constructed with that style more than the cathedrals and churches at that time.” This Gothic style has made a significant impact on the cathedrals and churches that used these ideas and structures.

Art and Sculptures in Gothic Architecture

The artwork quality did decline; it is said, “Due to the focus placed on geometric patterning by Rayonnant Gothic architecture, this is not surprising” (Visual Corks Gothic). Since it was such a statement with these new concepts of geometric patterning during the Rayonnant Gothic, it then became to top that and find new developments with the art.

Now, as far as sculptures, “In Gothic architecture, they have gargoyles (a gargoyle is a carved or formed grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between.) while in Romanesque, very little decoration is on the exteriors.”

In addition, there are thousands of churches and cathedrals that have adopted this style all over the world today. It’s easy to notice stained glass windows and high ceilings when driving past churches, followed by an arch at the top. This was because of the previous eras of style, which was the Romanesque and Gothic. To go along with this style is the art and the sculptures.


  1. Durant, W. (1950). The Age of Faith. Simon and Schuster. Discusses the significance of religion in European history and the role of the church in daily life.
  2. Pirenne, H. (1937). Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade. Princeton University Press. – Provides insights into the development of cities and the role of the church in the medieval period.
  3. Rolf, T. (1997). Romanesque Architecture: The First Style of the European Age. The Yale University Press Pelican History of Art Series. – Delve into the details of Romanesque architectural features.

How Coffee Fuels Students’ Academic Success

Coffee’s Multifaceted Benefits for Students

There are several health benefits that could possibly come from drinking coffee. It is no secret that coffee containing caffeine is a weapon used among students to help them better their focus and retention when it comes to their studies. But how exactly does coffee affect a student’s academic success? Studies have shown there are many reasons why coffee and its multiple advantages could be considered a student’s “best friend.” Drinking coffee daily is a pleasurable way to receive the health benefits that coffee alone provides and the stimulating effects that the caffeine found in a cup of coffee has on one’s central nervous system. These effects and benefits are believed to have a direct and positive correlation to a student’s academic success.

The Morning Routine: Coffee and Alertness

It is very common for the typical person’s morning routine to include having a cup of coffee. This is because coffee (containing caffeine) has a profound effect on a person’s mental alertness. This means that it will improve one’s ability to focus. The more alert someone is, the better they will do in all of their daily activities, let alone the activities involved during a student’s learning process. Take into consideration how positively this will affect a student’s performance in school work. Being alert means the student can tune out background noise and unrelated information and truly focus on their teacher and the academic information being provided to them. This will ultimately lead to a chain effect regarding the student’s academic status. The better a student performs on their class work, the more successful the student will become.

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Caffeine’s Impact on Memory Retention

The ability to retain information is a key influence on a student’s academic success. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, the caffeine found in coffee is known to contain factors that enhance someone’s memory and allow a person the ability to retain certain memories within 24 hours of consumption. The ability to retain information is fundamental when it comes to the building of a person’s education. It goes without saying that memorization has a direct correlation to a student’s academic success. Therefore, common sense says that stimulants, which positively affect a student’s ability to retain the facts and details they have been given to be successful in their education, will also have a correlation with the student’s overall academic triumph.

Another reason that the use of coffee can be correlated to a student’s academic success is that it improves a person’s mood. Drinking coffee releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that is known to produce feelings of happiness and excitement. A person who is positive and optimistic typically tends to be more productive. Productivity and success go hand-in-hand, so it can be inferred that students with a better rate of productivity will also have a better chance of achieving academic success.


  1. Adams, R. L. (2018). The coffee advantage: A review of its impact on cognitive functions. Journal of Beverage Studies.
  2. Brewer, A., & Williams, E. J. (2017). Caffeine consumption among students: Patterns and implications. Journal of College Health.

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