Monday 5 June 2017

Norman Architecture

Norman architecture is used for the buildings constructed by Normans from 10th to 12th century CE in the various lands under their dominion or influence. Because only shortly before the Norman Conquest of England (1066) did Normandy become stable enough to produce an architecture, the Norman style developed almost simultaneously in France and England.

Rochester Castle, Kent, South East England

The Norman arch was a defining point of Norman architecture. Grand archways were designed to evoke feelings of awe and were very commonly seen as the entrance to large religious buildings such as cathedrals. Hundreds of parish churches were built and the great English cathedrals were founded from 1083 CE.

Interior of Durham Cathedral

By 950's Normans(Vikings) were building stone keeps. They were among the most travelled people of Europe, exposed to a wide variety of cultural influences including the Near East, some of which became incorporated in their art and architecture. The construction of Church of Saint-Étienne at Caen begun in 1067.

Church of Saint-Étienne

Romanesque Architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches. Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman Architecture.  The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to as Norman architecture. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style, marked by pointed arches.

Lessay Abbey, Normandy, France

Edward the Confessor was brought up in Normandy, and in 1042 brought masons to work on Westminster Abbey, the one of the first Romanesque building in England. In 1051 he brought in Norman knights who built "motte" castles as a defence against the Welsh. Following the invasion Normans rapidly constructed motte-and-bailey castles, and in a burst of building activity built churches and abbeys, as well as more elaborate fortifications including Norman stone keeps.

Oxford castle

Scotland also came under early Norman influence, with Norman nobles at the court of King Macbeth around 1050. His successor Máel Coluim III overthrew him with English and Norman assistance, and his queen Margaret encouraged the building church.

Dunfermline Abbey, Scotland

The Normans first landed in Ireland in 1169. The years between 1177 and 1310 saw the construction of some of the greatest of the Norman castles in Ireland. The Normans settled mostly in an area in the east of Ireland, later known as the Pale, and among other buildings they constructed were Swords Castle in Fingal (North County Dublin), Dublin Castle and Carrickfergus Castle in County Antrim.

Dublin Castle, Ireland

The Normans began constructing castles, their trademark architectural piece, in Italy from an early date. Besides the encastellation of the countryside, the Normans erected several religious buildings which still survive.

A shrine in Italy

Sicily's Norman period lasted from circa 1070 until about 1200. The architecture was decorated in gilded mosaics such as that at the cathedral at Monreale. The Palatine Chapel in Palermo built in 1130 is the perhaps the strongest example of this where the interior of the dome (itself a Byzantine feature) is decorated in mosaic.

Catania Cathedral, Sicily, Southern Italy

1 comment:

  1. Sicily! Fusion and harmony among Muslims,Jews, Christians!


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