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Final Essay • Art 102A

Final Essay • Art 102A ONLINE

Choose a Concept and discuss it’s evolution since the Roman Empire through the Gothic period.

Using your textbook and the modules, Choose 4 images from your textbook as the basis for discussion of the evolution of a concept SINCE the Roman Empire. Write an essay based on your observations of how the style or concept has changed over time. Try to be creative with your choices and make sure to EXPLAIN concepts, don't just describe the artworks.

You may use any time frame since Early ROMAN EMPIRE up through GOTHIC, but you must use a minimum of 3 different periods. For example, you might demonstrate a shift in the style of sacred architecture, government monument, or representation of royal power. You could choose images of Mary and/or Christ and show how they evolved in style since early Christianity. You could choose a specific symbol like the sun/sundisk and show how it was used in different ways over time.

Examples of themes: Churches, book illustration, images of Jesus, images of Mary, Mary & Christ child, Crucifixion, Kingship, God, types of leadership (like philosophers, soldiers, apostles, prophets, etc). You may be creative in your thematic choice.

- Also you can consider evolution of style such as style of: body representation (from realism to abstract), use of nudity, clothing, church architecture, church decoration, etc. (Please Do NOT just compare Romanesque & Gothic churches - too easy!) although a comparison between Mosque and Basilica or Cathedral examining how the design suggests and supports the way worship is conducted would be an excellent investigation

Cite specific elements of the form (appearance) of the artwork that change and how the change in form also alters the meaning of the artwork.

set the context for that artwork, in other words use information about the culture-period that the artwork is from to help you explain the design and the meaning. Attempt to explain why the style or concept is as it is in relation to it's culture-period. (example: why did Gothic period make Virgin Mary look more like a princess? Or Why Gothic period made architecture that lets in more light? What were social developments that made those artistic changes take place?)

This should be a full essay, with an introduction, the main body explaining each artwork – what is new and what it means for each one, then a conclusion with thesis. The conclusion should not just state that changes happen over time; it should suggest WHY the changes happened. What ideas can we infer about society from those changes?

Religious Sanctuary Architectural Evolution from The Roman Empire Through Gothic Period


Christian art and architecture were considered to begin after Christ's death or at least in the second half of the 19th century. But later it was discovered under various studies that a true Christian style was not before the end of the 2nd or the beginning of the 3rd century. The end date for this period is even more difficult to determine. It can be placed in the 4th, 5th or 6th centuries. The primitive Christian architecture penetrated all provinces of the Roman Empire and adapted to the existing pagan architecture. The architecture evolved to what we now call Gothic which originated for the first time in northern France around 1140. It developed during the construction of large churches in the Paris region in a move towards higher altitude, light and volume. Later it was also used for secular buildings such as castles, bridges, walls and gates. The main features included a pointed bow, ribs on the roof, supports (especially arched socks) and window curves. This paper will review the evolution of religious sanctuary architecture from the Rome empire through the Gothic era so as to illustrate the symbolism, similarities, and differences of those architectural periods.

Religious Sanctuary Architecture During the Roman Empire

Most Religious Sanctuary Architecture took after the Etruscan design. The high platforms were open just at the front, with their wide trip of steps. Again, unsupported sections were limited to the profound yard. These structures were worked of stone overlaid initially with stucco in an impersonation of the white marble temples of the Greeks (Emery, 2011). Their segments were Ionic, finished with woodwinds and bases. Besides, with an end goal to rough a fringe Greek temple - while keeping up the Etruscan design - the architect included a progression of connected Ionic half-segments around the cella's sides and back (Adams, 2011, p. 354). This procedure resulted in the formation of most temples resembling a pseudo fringe. However, with the advancement of Concrete and the Roman Arch, Romans started to construct more sturdy and fantastic structures. Concrete was cheap and solid, in spite of the fact that it was ugly to the eye, so the Romans hid it with restorative exteriors, for example, marble, stone block, mortar and different medications (Stoddard, 2018). One of the principal structures almost totally credited to solid development is the Sanctuary of Fortuna Primogenitor.

Other structures in the Roman empire characterized springs and utilized gravity stream to lead the water on the top utilitarian level of the structure from the source to the city. Some of these three-story reservoir conduits were made to keep up the tallness of the water channel where the water crossed (Emery, 2011). The main concept was not to deal with nature as well as using God’s creation to complement the work of man. In addition, every vast curve traversed some feet and was developed of un-solidified squares weighing up to two tons each. A column of little curves (three little curves always one beneath it) seemed to be the most preferable and the best. These little curves conveyed the water channels. Their enlivened cadence and the amicable corresponding connection between the bigger and littler curves uncovered that the Roman specialist had a sharp stylish, and in addition down to earth detect.

Romans were commonsense architects and built reservoir conduits that conveyed water from the slopes and mountains to metropolitan zones, this water passage was developed of great stones joined without mortar or clasps. With the angled plan and variety between the two levels of curves, there was a tasteful accomplishment (Emery, 2011). Roman Political power appeared with a bound together look an example being the ‘Mouth of truth' which is a man-like face that was situated in the porch of the congregation of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Thought to be a piece of a wellspring or a sewer vent speaking to either the god, Oceanus or the antiquated lord of the River Tiber (Adams, 2011, p. 358). Historians trust it was a front of a water authority inside a temple and speaks to the god Oceanus on account of the fish in the left side and the heads of two dolphins (instead of balls) in the facial hair. Beginning in the Middle Ages, the piece as utilized as a 'lie identifier' in which one lying would have their hand gnawed off by the mouth of truth.

To uplift a guest's involvement, architects utilized cement to form the structures over the whole surface of the slope and specialty the spaces. The base level was an early temple as a basilica and a senate house (Adams, 2011, p. 362). The upper patios came full circle in a focal hub encompassed by a progression of statue specialties and staircases. The guests would take after these inclining barrel vaulted walkways to open arrivals ignoring an open field. A few levels had porches and spots for shops where trinkets and votive would be accessible for buy and others had religious exhibitions (Stoddard, 2018). The last level was a round temple to the goddess, Fortuna all which was proficient in utilizing concrete.

The Evolution of Religious Sanctuary Architecture through the Gothic Period

The Gothic architecture was the new advance in the improvement of the Gothic religious architecture which was mainly the normal for European or, to put it all the more clearly, western European religious architecture (Stoddard, 2018). The Gothic architecture was customarily connected with houses of prayer one popular example being the Notre Dame de Paris (Emery, 2011). These church buildings were stupendous works with extensive curve windows, high roof and sharp rooftops, ribbed vaults, and flying brace. The Gothic religious architecture was truly inspiring and was not the same as the Roman style, which used to be mainstream in the Middle Ages. In fact, the Gothic religious architecture inspired the creative ability of general society (Adams, 2011, p. 364). In the meantime, these religious structures regularly included components, for example, statues of some popular creatures which startled people in general. In such a way, the Gothic religious architecture endeavored to join the established medieval architecture with new patterns and conventions of antiquated architecture.

Considering all previously mentioned, it is essential to put accentuation on the way that the advancement of the religious architecture added to the predictable changes in the utilization of structures and styles of religious structures and developments. The religious architecture changed separately to the difference in the religion and religious beliefs of individuals and reflected these progressions (Adams, 2011, p. 378). The religious architecture developed increasingly convoluted from the Stone Age, with its straightforwardness of structures and styles, to the Gothic religious architecture, with its amazingly muddled structures and styles (Emery, 2011). Clearly, the advancement of the religious architecture went for the advancement of religion in any case, and, the religious architecture had an essential social influence since it invigorated the regard of individuals to religion on the grounds that numerous religious structures were genuinely iconic.

The after-effect of the nineteenth-century Gothic restoration was a congregation architecture of faulty aesthetic value. The push to make the architect's vision that of society diminishes the informed creative sensibility of the architect to a place of subjugation to the less-taught sensibility of the assemblage or minister (Adams, 2011, p. 374). The correct connection between social assurance and architectural arrangement is one of shared detail. One of the themes of Gothic religious architecture is that "as they shaped their structures, in like manner do their structures shape their lives and beliefs.

These ovals were locked in by two round spaces at the transept; the plane course of action was balanced by the roof plan of crossing transverse ovals; every crossing transverse oval gave a spatial forecourt quickly going before the two sacrificial stones (Adams, 2011, p. 410). The transept crossing was not characterized by a conventional vault but by a trough where the curved arches meet with the goal that the transept crossing was not central. The circular development and counter developments were converged with the dividers; when found in conjunction with the extravagant ornate enrichment and characteristic light framework that cracked exact visual division of articles, Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers turns into a mind-boggling and spatial totality (Emery, 2011). The nineteenth century came back to the longitudinal kind in its imitated Gothic and Romanesque houses of worship. Houses of worship demonstrated a progression of styles, starting with the Egyptian limited longitudinal arrangement and consummation in a Renaissance focal arrangement, whose progression might be seen as a solitary incredible process.

The architecture was the overall articulation of the Gothic era. The development in the first part of the twentieth century from the Romanesque precursors extended the Gothic architecture into the sixteenth century in northern Europe, long after the alternative expressions had captured the Renaissance (Adams, 2011, p. 405). Despite the fact that countless reference work worked in Gothic style, it was in the administration of the assembly, the most productive developer of the Middle Ages, that the new architecture advanced and achieved its full recognition.


The elegant features of the Roman and Gothic architecture were based on structural improvement: the ribbed vault. Medieval houses of worship had strong stone vaults (the structure that holds the roof or ceiling). These structures were extremely large and tended to drive their stretch outwards, which could cause the building to be deformed. Their sizes were therefore substantial and thick enough to keep under the weight of the stone valves. Before it was planned for the 7th century, the carveries were built, consisting of fine curves of stone, which extend from corner to corner, transverse and longitudinal. The new vault, which was thinner, lighter and more adaptable, admitted several architectural advances and religious symbolism.


Adams, L. (2011). A history of western art (5th ed., pp. 350-450). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Emery, E. (2011). Romancing the cathedral: gothic architecture in fin-de-siècle french culture. SUNY Press.

Stoddard, W. S. (2018). Art and architecture in medieval France: medieval architecture, sculpture, stained glass, manuscripts, the art of the church treasuries. Routledge.

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