Roman And Renaissance Architecture: Comparative Essay

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Previous achievements have always influenced new innovations. As Frank Gehrig always said “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness “, let’s start with the classical architecture whose origin comes from Greek civilization, this architecture which expresses the life of the city. Indeed, the Romans conquered in the 2nd century before JC North Africa, Greece and Spain and thus assimilated and copied the architecture of these regions but also their know-how (in particular the Greeks) whose plans, philosophy, math, arts, sculpture, clothes … and orders, were absorbed and tweaked into the Roman context. Then Roman architecture will be inspired by the same principles as Greek architecture but will favour utility buildings more than religious ones. The Roman architecture will not only copy these regions but it will also invent architectural elements which will solve problems of scope such as the full arch / full painter, dome and barrel vault. In the end the roman empire was the one that imposed the most his culture. So, let’s move on to the renaissance which presumes architectural styles that existed and dried up after the Roman era and that will eventually return again, because indeed the middle ages (the time before it) were considered a dark era characterized by a fortifying architecture, castles, huts for peasants which lacked the concept of the luxury present in the roman aesthetics .while the renaissance which begins at the end of the 14th century and returns at the end of the 16 century marks the return to Greek-Roman architecture and the fall of Byzantium which will no longer be the capital of Rome, therefore a change of religion, and great contact with Arabs. The purpose of this essay is to highlight the main differences between roman and renaissance architecture, in terms of elevation, the meaning beyond the surface, from the whole to the single element.

The Elevation and that is the exterior analysis of the building is defined as what we see, the felt and the impression of the building. starting with the roman architecture which is a grand, spectacular architecture represented by monuments that were of unprecedented size and complexity, so that we feel them smoother and even intimidated in front of them, they are characterized by rigid, rigorous forms, simple geometric, monumental, repetitive, rational, entry under the porch is clearly defined, the exterior columns define a particular space, it is placed on a podium (raised above the ground), and we have a unique axial entry while the baroque architecture (of the renaissance) is more fluid, where the ornamentation is strong, lively, romantic, sensitive, dynamic, large opening, oval window, originality, theatrical effect, a game of light and color the Baroque architecture, therefore, combines the elements and the known forms of Greco-Roman architecture but using a new rhythm, accentuating the volumes, exaggerating the decoration, varying the plans, including adding a colossal sculpture.

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The meaning beyond the surface is synonymous to the structures that are used to symbolize or represent cultural beliefs, in which religion will be the shaping factor. Baroque architecture or more precisely the Baroque style derives from Renaissance architecture and is an appropriate art for expressing power, on the one hand, it represents an absolute and triumphant instrument of the church and its state but also a means of artistic expression, the baroque style is much more human, it is the man who is confined to himself he begins to think and be very melancholic and he expresses it in the structures and the ornaments this melancholy, so they express the needs and the feelings of more extended social groups and of certain originality with regard to the generation that preceded it, it characterizes a whole movement of the thought and the human action by creating interior freedom, creation while the classic is limited to putting an order in the intervention by stripping it of its force and its impetus. indeed, in this case the Romans also highlight their power, by grandiose monuments but also they show us their belief in a God who is bigger than us that is why in front of this architectural work we feel suffocated and small which triggers a feeling of subjection to the power and the force of gods.

From the whole to the single element, and that’s to mean every single element of the monument from the ornaments to the way why this colon is here have very different meaning and it’s whole is very important to comprehend the story, the meaning behind the building. So to tell the classic and the baroque have two different ways of expressing a story, two different languages despite of in certain point using or altering the same element. By classic architecture we mean an architecture which is distinguished by its representability and by its articulated order, its organization is logically understandable while its substance requires reflection. It is therefore an objective architecture characterized by a concrete presence, each element has a distinct personality, it is neither static nor dynamic but rather impregnated with an organic life which forms are like the result of a learned composition of individual element and it communicates at the same time the membership and the freedom or classical space combines topological features and geometric features which will be the basis of its identity, it is characterized by the absence of a predominant system where we, therefore, find the harmonious and significant balance of buildings. it is a propaganda tool and symbol dedicated to the borrower by the creation of a relationship between the elements which are geometric, the search for general order and by the careful architectural organization staged to the renown of the borrower with statues, bas reliefs, perspective/axis effect, stylized columns … on the other hand at the rebirth the reappearance of the greek-roman element one makes their apartment to discern the desire to transmit to the buildings an individual plastic presence and an anthropomorphic characteristic everything passes in a simple and comprehensible construction for example in the baroque palace one finds a synthesis of cosmic dimension which is not represented here by the light, symbol of the spirit, nor by a system structure suitable to receive this light but by a geometric network which extends horizontally thanks to traverses which concretize the claim absolutists of the sovereign who is at the centre of the system. the center divides the world in 2 there is an urban dimension built by man and an infinite extension of nature not far from the center, therefore, appears as a cultural landscape, so in the baroque palace with a garden the natural place and the artificial place merge to form an understandable whole with romantic and cosmic implication and a constructed form which derives from the classic, let us not forget also the localized genius of the implantation which is very important and which gives us a humanized and different nature in the cities according to the content of what brings them together, that is to say, there are cities where the forces of the earth feel strongly in other ways or where the capacity of an order imposed by the sky comes out, that is why each building is special it differs from the other by its location, its symbol, its importance.

In conclusion, after highlighting the main differences between roman and renaissance architecture we can conclude that behind each invention or exceptional innovative architecture exists a well-structured base which is here Roman architecture as we have seen it has evolved, reinvent according to the need, living conditions, politics, arts and the new thinking of back then, to match people. So we can see the architecture or any other field like math, philosophy, science, art … as a continuous chain of ideas, of thinking, of ideal modifying, recruiting in order to often lead to a new exploit, a new creation, new art to different people, to new era.


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