Difference Between Gothic and Romanesque Architecture (With Table)

Sometimes people get confused about the differences between Gothic and Romanesque architectures. Definitely, both architecture styles are not the same, but still, there are many similarities present. 

Gothic vs Romanesque Architecture

The difference between gothic and Romanesque architecture is that Romanesque’s building has round arches and they have blunt towers. On the other hand, the building of gothic has pointed towers.

Gothic architecture defines the architectural styles that lasted in the mid twelve century to sixteen century in Europe. Gothic architecture building is mainly in a masonry style, which is characterized by the cavernous spaces as the expanse of broken up walls by overlaid tracery.

We can define Romanesque architecture as a construction or architecture style which uses semi-circular arches. Romanesque style can be identified all over Europe as the regional characteristic and different materials. During that period, many castles were built, but churches mainly outnumber them.

Comparison Between Gothic Architecture and Romanesque Architecture

Parameter of ComparisonGothic architecture  Romanesque architecture
Meaning It is an architectural style which has lasted from the 12th century to the 16th century. This building is mainly in a masonry style.It is an architectural style in medieval Europe which are also characterized as the semi-circular arches.
Shape of arches   Gothic architecture buildings have pointed arches in them.Romanesque architectural buildings have rounded arches in them.
Interiors Gothic architecture buildings have large windows and many stained glasses, which result in a light, bright, and airy interior.  Romanesque architecture buildings have small windows and fewer stained glasses, which result in a dark interior. 
Vaults   Gothic architecture buildings have groin vaults.  Romanesque architecture buildings have barrel vaults.
Interior design Gothic architecture buildings have a few structure support and flying buttresses.  The Romanesque building has massive pillars inside the building.
Exterior design   Gothic architecture has gargoyles on the exterior of the building.Romanesque architecture has a minimal design on the exterior of the building.
Structure   Gothic architecture buildings have a slender skeleton structure.  Romanesque architecture buildings have massive, framed structures.

What is Gothic Architecture?

Gothic architecture has been traced to the 12th century. This architectural style was mainly used to make the churches so that it looks like heaven. This architecture makes the churches which are colorful, bright, and soaring. Back then, the characteristics of Gothic Architecture was identifiable with those thick walls and numerous but huge windows. The gothic structure has a slender skeleton, and it also has a large window with stained glasses, which allows more light to come into the room.

One feature of the gothic structure is that they are very tall and pointed towards the sky. It also had an ornate and round window, which was named Rose window. Some other features of gothic architecture like vertical lines, flying buttresses, and highness. Another essential feature that can differentiate between gothic architecture and Romanesque architecture is the use of buttresses, which is common to find in gothic buildings.

The gothic architectural period represented the beginning of the style that was an aesthetically pleasing idea, and beautiful were constructed in the building’s design. As time passes, the architect in the middle ages starts to conceptualize their creation because buildings were no longer simply designed; rather than it has meaningful and valuable in and of themselves.

What is the Romanesque Architecture?

This architectural style was created during the 9th and the 12th century. The roman and byzantine styles mainly influenced Romanesque architecture. The term or name Romanesque came in use in the 1800s, and because it had the features of a barrel vault, that’s why it seemed pretty much similar to the Roman arch. The Romanesque building had blunt towers in it.

This architecture has the characteristic of barrel vaults, thick walls, internal space, and have round arches on the door and windows. The romanesque period building was heavy and solid along with thick walls. Rooms inside a Romanesque building usually have low light entrance because of small windows, which makes the whole room dimly lit.

The structure of this building was with heavy frames. This architectural trait also has a stone that was cut exactly, and some hollow walls were able to distribute the weight of the stones. In general, using the roman arch allowed the stone to be supported in the construction arch center. The building’s window opening construction style should be as same as the Romanesque style, which means it should be small. The construction of the vault is considered to be the most important characteristic of this architecture. There were at least two different styles of vaults, the tunnel or the barrel vault. 

Main Differences Between Gothic Architecture and Romanesque Architecture

  1. Gothic architecture was traced to the mid 12th century. On the other hand, Romanesque architecture was traced from the 9th century to the 12th century.
  2. Gothic architecture mainly came in use for constructing churches so that they look like heaven. On the other hand, Romanesque architecture was influenced by Roman and Byzantine styles.
  3. Gothic architecture buildings have pointed arches in them. On the other hand, Romanesque architectural buildings have rounded arches in them.
  4. Gothic architecture buildings have a slender skeleton structure. On the other hand, Romanesque architecture buildings have heavy framed structures.
  5. Gothic architecture buildings have large windows and many stained glasses, which result in a light, bright, and airy interior. On the other hand, Romanesque architecture buildings have small windows and fewer stained glasses, which result in a dark interior.

Conclusion

As the primary difference between the term gothic architecture and romanesque architecture has been told, it will help people understand the meaning and their features. As both terms have a lot of similarities between them, so this often creates confusion to understand.

As both, the terms have a lot of common, but both have been traced in different periods and have different features and characteristics that help understand that they are very much different from each other

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/9780470996997#page=317
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44346126