Ohio 7th Grade World History/Architecture

Architecture was a very important subject of the Middle Ages. Architecture first changed from a gothic styling to a warmer appearance in Florence, Italy during the early 15th century. Although architecture quickly spread to Germany, England and Russia, it didn’t spread to France until 125 years later. Architecture of the Renaissance particularly placed emphasis on symmetry, geometry and proportion. It was during this time that architects began using more bricks and the color red became much more popular. Another thing that became popular were large windows because they allowed illumination to enter dark rooms, providing a warmer experience. The Dome was a very common design in Renaissance architecture. Almost all cathedrals had domes that held paintings on their ceilings. Some important architects that became popular for their designs were Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Renaissance Homes

Vila La Rotonda, an example of a Renaissance home built for an important person.

The architectural elements of Renaissance homes were different from the ones of the Middle Ages. The homes owned by wealthy people reflected elements of ancient Roman architecture. Architects built homes that surrounded astounding courtyards. The facades of buildings had simple, symmetrical decorations on them. Architects designed most homes with large windows, which illuminated rooms. Homes were made of stone, which was carved or painted with gorgeous details. Stained glass was no longer used in this time period because it was dark and was not comforting. The fine houses of the renaissance had statues with gods and goddesses. Demons and angels were no longer used to decorate. The homes were surrounded by well-tamed gardens that had flowers and shrubs placed in geometric patterns. The homes were brighter and had a more comforting feel to them. This architecture was less gothic and more peaceful and graceful then the architectural style of the Middle Ages.


Miracoli's Church in Venice

Churches in medieval times had a gothic style. They were heavily adorned with figures of angels, demons and saints. Architects began to create warmer, brighter churches. The use of stained glass was lessened, letting more light come into the building. Domes and arches became very common.

One example of a famous renaissance church is the Sistine Chapel. It is a small chapel in the Vatican. Built during the reign of Poe Sixtus IV Della Rovere (1475-1483) the chapel stands at 40.93 meters (134.3 ft) long, 13.41 meters (44.0 ft) wide and 20.7 meters (68 ft) high. The ceiling was originally painted with gold stars against a blue background. Michelangelo repainted it to make it more religious. He created scenes, which depicted the history of the universe, events from the Christian faith and humanity.

Built in 1296, the Duomo is an architectural masterpiece of Florence. Building of the Duomo took 200 years to complete. It is a symbol of Florence and the renaissance. All streets in Florence eventually lead to the Duomo. It is famous for its bronze doors called the Doors of Paradise, built by Ghiberti. It has a pink, white, and green façade. The Duomo has an octagonal dome that is 42 meters (138 ft) in span and consists of two layers. The size of the Duomo shows the importance of Catholicism to the city. The St. Peters Basillia is a very famous church. Michelangelo designed it. The Grand façade is 116 meters (381 ft) wide and 53 meters (174 ft) wide and has 13 statues. The central balcony is called the Loggia of the blessings. Antonio Averulino designed the door in the center. The Northernmost door is called The Holy Door, built by Vico Consort.

Effects of Renaissance Architecture

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's iconic residence, was highly influenced by Renaissance architecture.

Today we use many techniques and ideas from Renaissance architecture. Learning about architecture has helped teach new mathematical concepts, as well as a greater understanding of the arts. For example, the White House uses arches, columns and domes, similar to structures during the Renaissance. Also, the Church paid people money to make the new religious structures. This means that skilled laborers became more common, allowing more people to become wealthy, and eventually forming a middle class.