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ROMANESQUE AND GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE IN

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Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 407 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROMANESQUE AND GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE IN GERMANY With the exception of the church built at Treves (Trier) by the empress Helena, of which small portions can still be traced in the cathedral, there are no remains of earlier date than the tomb-house built by Charlemagne at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), which, though much restored in the 19th century, is still in good preservation. It consists (fig. 44) of an octagonal domed hall surrounded by aisles in two storeys, both vaulted; externally the structure is a polygon of sixteen sides, about io5 ft. in diameter, and it was preceded by a porch flanked by turrets. It is thought to have been copied from S. Vitale at Ravenna, but there are many essential differences. The same design was repeated at Ottmarsheim and Essen, and a simpler version exists at Nijmwegen in the Netherlands, also built by Charlemagne. Although no remains exist of the monastery of St Gall in Switzerland (see ABBEY), built in the beginning of the 9th century, a valuable manuscript plan was found in the 17th century, in its library, which would seem to have been a design for a complete monastery. It contains features which are peculiar to the early German churches and are rarely found elsewhere, and is therefore of considerable interest, suggesting that some of the accessories of a monastery, supposed to have been the result of subsequent development, were all clearly set forth at this early period. The plan shows an eastern apse with a crypt, and a choir in front; a western apse, nave and aisles, with a series of altars down the latter; and on the west side, but detached from the apse, two circular towers with staircases in them. Unfortunately there are no churches remaining of the same date from which we might judge how far these arrangements were followed; but there are three early churches in the island of Reichenau on the Lake of Constance, in one of which, Mittelzell, is a western apse with staircases (here built up into a central tower), nave, and aisles with altars at the side between every window. The eastern portion has been rebuilt. At Oberzell, at the south end of the island, is a vaulted crypt, which dates from the end of the loth century. In the third and much smaller church, Unterzell, there was no crypt, but three eastern apses and a western apse, which was destroyed when the present nave was built. At Gernrode in the Harz is a church with western and eastern apses with vaulted crypts underneath (one of which dates from 96o when the church was founded), and circular towers with staircases in them on either side of the western apse. The church was completed about a century later. In the arcade between the nave and aisles piers alternate with the columns. Alternating piers are found also in Quedlinburg (the crypt of which dates from 936 and the church above about 1030) and many other early churches. Western apses exist at Drubeck, Ilbenstadt, Treves, Huyseberg, St Michael and St Godehard at Hildesheim, Mainz, the Obermunster at Regensburg, Laach, Worms, andat a later date at Naumberg and Bamberg, showing that it was a feature generally accepted in early and late periods. It has, however, one great defect, that of depriving the west end of the church of those magnificent porches which are the glory of the churches of France; the cathedral of Spires (Speyer), the church at Limburg near Durkheim, the cathedrals of Erfurt and Regensburg, being the few examples where a dignified entrance is given; and further, that on entering the church from the side, one is distracted by the rivalry of the two apses, and it is only when turning the hack on one or the other that one is able to judge of the monumental.effect of the interior. The greater number of the churches above mentioned were covered over with open timber roofs or flat ceilings; but the problem at Worms. to be solved in Germany, as well as in Italy, was that of vaulting over the nave, and the cathedrals of Spires, Worms and Mainz (fig. 45) are the three most important churches in which this was accomplished. The dates of their vaults have never been quite settled; that of Spires would seem to have been the earliest built, probably after 1162, when the church was seriously damaged by a conflagration, and the vault is groined only. In Worms (fig. 46) and Mainz there are diagonal moulded ribs, which suggest a later date. Although of great height and width, the absence of a triforium gallery in these cathedrals is a serious defect, as it deprives the interior of that scale which the smaller arcades in such a gallery give to the nave arcade below and the clerestory above, and of those horizontal lines given by string courses which are entirely wanting in these churches. Seeing that in some of the earlier churches, as at Gernrode, St Ursula (Cologne), and Nieder-Lahnstein, the triforium had already been introduced, and that it was repeated in the later examples at Limburg on the Lahn, Bacharach, Andernach, Bonn, Sinzig, and St Gereon (Cologne), it is difficult to understand why, in the three great typical German Romanesque churches, they should have been omitted. Externally the design is extremely fine, owing to the grouping of the many towers at the west and on either side of the transept or choir. In this respect the cathedral of Mainz is the most superb structure in Germany, and to the cathedral of Spires with its fine entrance porch (fig. 47) must be given the second place. One of the most perfect examples of the Rhenish-Romanesque styles is the church of the abbey of Laach, completed shortly after the middle of the 12th century. The eastern part of the church resembles the ordinary type, but at the west end there is a narrow transept flanked by circular towers, and a western apse enclosed in an atrium with cloisters round, which forms the entrance to the church. The sculptures in the capitals of the atrium are of the finest description and repre- sent the perfected type of the German F1c. 47.-Plan of Cathedral Romanesque style. In addition to the at Spires. two circular towers flanking the west transept, a square tower rises in the centre of the west front, two square towers flank the choir and a crystal lantern crowns the crossing of the main transept, and the grouping of all these features is very fine and picturesque in effect. A small church at Rosheim in Alsace is quite Lombardic in its exterior design, the pilaster strips and arched corbel tables being almost identical. The same applies to the church at Marmoutier, but the towers flanking the main front and the square tower on the crossing of the western transept produce a composition which one looks for in vain in the greater number of the churches in Italy. In describing the Lombardic churches of North Italy, reference has been made to the probable origin of the eaves-gallery, best represented in the eastern apse of Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo. This feature was largely adopted throughout the Rhine churches, and in the Apostles' church and St Martin's at Cologne receives its fullest development, being in addition to the eastern apse carried round the apses of the north and south transepts, which in these two churches and in St-Mary-in-the-Capitol, also in Cologne, constitute a special treatment. In the Apostles' church, where round towers are built at the junction of the three apses, the effect is extremely pleasing. In the church at Bonn, the single apse is flanked by two lofty towers which give great importance to the east front. The steeples of the same period have a character of their own. They are either square or octangular in plan, arcaded or pierced with windows, and roofed with gables or with spires rising out of the gables. One peculiarity found in some of the German churches, and specially those in the north-east, is that the nave and aisles are of the same height. To these the term Hallenkirchen is given. This type of design is very grand internally, owing to the vast height of the piers and arches. It also dispenses with the necessity for flying buttresses, as the aisles, which are only half the width of the nave, carry the thrust of the vault direct to the external buttresses. The nave, however, is not so well lighted, though the aisle windows are sometimes of stupendous height. The principal examples are those of the church of St Stephen, Vienna, where both nave and aisles are carried over with one vast roof; at Munster, the Wiesenkirche at Soest; St Lawrence, Nuremberg; St Martin's, Landshut; Munich cathedral, and others. St Gereon (1200-1227) and St Cunibert (1205-1248), in Cologne, besides churches at Naumburg, Limburg and Gelnhausen, in which the pointed arch is employed, are almost the only transitional examples in Germany, and respond to work of a century earlier in France. Toward the end of the 13th century the Romanesque style was supplanted by a style which in no way grew out of it, but was Scale of Feet 9 to xo ~o 4O 5O t4- at Aix-la-Chapelle. at Mainz. rather an imitation of a foreign style, the earliest examples being in the Liebfrauenkirche at Treves (1227-1243), and the churches at Marburg (1235-1283) and Altenberg (1255-1301). In the latter church is a French chevet with seven apsidal chapels. This brings us to the great typical cathedral of Germany at Cologne (fig. 48), which had the advantages of having been designed at the best age and completed on the original design, so that with small exceptions a uniformity of style reigns throughout it. It was begun in 1270 and apparently based on the plan of Amiens, the transepts however having an additional bay each, and the two first bays of the nave having thicker piers so as to carry the enormous towers and spires which flank the chief facade. The principal defect of the building is its relative shortness, owing to its disproportionate height. This has always been felt in the interior, and now that the lofty buildings all round have been taken down, isolating the cathedral on all sides, it has the appearance of an overgrown monster. The length of the cathedral is 468 ft., 17 ft. less than the cathedral at Ulm, the longest in Germany. The height of the nave vault is 155 ft., and as the width is only 41.6 (about one in four) the proportion is very unpleasing. There is also a certain mechanical finish throughout the design, which renders it far less poetical than the great French cathedrals. Where, however, it excels is in the extraordinary vigour of its execution, the depth of the mouldings, and the projection given to the leading architectural features; and in this respect, when compared with St Ouen at Rouen, about fifty years later, the latter (which is even more mechanical in its setting out) looks wire-drawn and poor. The twin spires of the facade rise to the height of 510 ft.; they were completed only in the latter part of the 19th century, and would have gained in breadth of effect if there had been some plain surfaces left. In this respect the spire of Freiburg cathedral, which is simple in outline and detail, is finer, and gains in contrast on account of the simpler masonry of the lower part of the tower. The spire at Ulm cathedral, only recently terminated, rises to the height of 530 ft. In both these cases the single tower is preferable to the double towers of Cologne, when elaborated to the same extent, as they are in all these examples; and perhaps that is one of the reasons why the spires of Strassburg and Antwerp cathedrals are more satisfactory, as the twin towers were never built. The front of Strassburg cathedral (1277-1318), by Erwin von Steinbach, is too much cut up by vertical lines of masonry, owing to the tours-deforce in tracery of which the German mason was so fond. On the whole the most beautiful of German spires is that of St Stephen's at Vienna, and one of its advantages would seem to be that its transition from the square base to the octagon is so well marked in the design that it is difficult to say where the tower ends and the spire begins. The strong horizontal courses under the spires of Strassburg or Freiburg are defects from this point of view. In domestic architecture nothing remains of the palace at Aix-la-Chapelle, but at I.orsch near Mannheim is the entrance gateway of the convent which was dedicated by Charlemagne in 774. It is in two storeys, in the lower one three semicircular arches flanked by columns with extremely classic capitals. The upper storey is decorated with what might have been described as a blind arcade, except that instead of arches are triangular spaces similar to some windows found in Saxon architecture; the whole gateway being crowned with a classic cornice. The palaces at Goslar (1050) and Dankwarderode in Brunswick (1150-1170) still preserve their great halls, and in the palace built (1130-1150) by the emperor Frederick I. at Gelnhausen there remain portions extremely fine and vigorous in style, and showing a strong Byzantine influence. The largest and most important castle is that of the Wartburg at Eisenach, which is in complete preservation. To sum up, the German Complete Gothic is essentially national in its complete character. It has many and obvious defects. From the first there is conspicuous in it that love of lines, and that desire to play with geometrical figures, which in time degenerated into work more full of conceit and triviality than that of any school of medieval artists. These conceits are worked out most elaborately in the traceries of windows and panelling. The finest early examples are in the cathedral at Minden; a little later, perhaps, the best series is in the cloister of Constance cathedral; and of the latest description the examples are innumerable. But it is worth observing that they rarely at any time have any ogee lines. They are severely geometrical and regular in their form, and quite unlike our own late Middle Pointed, or the French Flamboyant. In sculpture the Germans did not shine. They, like the English, did not introduce it with profusion, though they were very prone to the representations of effigies of the deceased as monuments. In one or two respects, however, Germany is still possessed of a wealth of medieval examples, such as is hardly to be paralleled in Europe. The vast collection of brick buildings, for instance, is unequalled. If a line be drawn due east and west, and passing through Berlin, the whole of the plain lying to the north, and extending from Russia to Holland, is destitute of stone, and the medieval architects, who always availed themselves of the material which was most natural in the district, built all over this vast extent of country almost entirely in brick. The examples of their works in this humble material are not at all confined to ecclesiastical works; houses, castles, town-halls, town walls and gateways, are so plentiful and so invariably picturesque and striking in their character, that it is impossible to pass a harsh verdict on the architects who left behind them such extraordinary examples of their skill and fertility of resource. This development is largely due to the fact that all these countries in north-east Germany were connected and very much influenced by the confederation of the Hanse towns, and hence the similarity in the design of all their buildings. Although some of the earliest buildings date from the 12th century, the chief development took place in the 14th and 15th centuries, and in the 16th century formed the basis of the transitional works of the Renaissance. The principal Hanse towns are Hamburg, Lubeck and Danzig. The chief buildings in Hamburg were destroyed by the fire in 1842, and it is in Lubeck that the most important churches are to be found. The church of St Mary (Marienkirche), 1304, is the most striking on account of its dimensions, 346 ft. in length, the nave being 123 ft. high, with two western towers 407 ft. high. Great scale is given to the building in consequence of the small material (brick) used, and some of the windows in this or other churches are nearly loo ft. in height, with lofty mullions, all in moulded brick. The Dom or cathedral of Lubeck, though slightly larger, is not so good in design, but has a remarkable north porch in richly moulded brick, with marble shafts and carved capitals. In the church of St Catherine the choir is raised above a lofty vaulted crypt, similar to examples in some of the Italian churches. The Marienkirche at Danzig (1345-1503), built by a grand master of the Teutonic knights, to whom the chief development of the architecture of north-east Germany is largely due, is one of those examples already mentioned as Hallenkirchen. The nave, aisles, side chapels, transept and aisles, and choir with square east end, are all of the same height; as the church }s 28o ft. long and 125 ft. wide, with a transept 200 ft. long, the effect is that of one stupendous hall, but as the light is only obtained through the windows of the side chapels, the interior, though impressive, is somewhat gloomy. The same is found in the choir of the Franciscan church at Salzburg, where five slender piers, 70 ft. in height and Oft. in diameter, carry the vault over an area i6o ft. long by 66 ft. wide. Right up in the north of Germany, in Pomerania, are many fine examples in brick and sometimes of great size, such as those at Stralsund, Stettin, Stargard, Pasewalk, and in the island of Rugen. The Marienkirche at Stralsund, owing to its massive construction and picturesque grouping, is an interesting example. Its western transept or narthex with tower in centre is a common type of the churches in Pomerania, and though very inferior in design is a version of those which in England are seen in Ely and Peterborough cathedrals. In the entrance gateways to the towns and in domestic architecture north Germany is very rich ; the palace of the grand master of the Teutonic Order at Marienburg is a vast and imposing structure in brick (1276-1335), in which the chapter house of the grand master, with its fan-vaulted roof, resting on a single pillar of granite in the centre, and the entrance porch of the church richly carved in brick, are among the finest examples executed in that material. (R. P. S.)
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GEORGE JOHN ROMANES (1848-1894)
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