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Early christian architecture

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History of Early Christian architecture period

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Early christian architecture

  2. 2. CONTENT Part 1: General Influences o Geographical o Geological o Climate o Religious o Social o Historical Part 2: Discussion Points o Architectural character o Building materials and construction system o Comparative analysis Part 3: Example Buildings
  6. 6. Christianity had its birth in Judaea , an eastern province of the roman emprite, spread and carried by St.Peter, St.Paul and other missionaries to Rome, as the center of the World – Empire.
  7. 7. Early Christian architecture at Rome was influenced by, and was the logical outcome of, existing Roman architecture, modified in other parts of the empire according to the type already recognized as suitable for the geographical situation of those countries, such as Syria, asia minor , north Africa, and Egypt
  8. 8. GEOLOGICAL Geological influences may be said to have acted indirectly on Early Christian architecture for the ruins of roman building often provided the quarry where obtained. This influenced the style, both as regards construction and decoration
  9. 9. . Columns and other architectural features, as well as fine sculptures and mosaics from older building, were incorporated into basilican churches of the new faith.
  10. 10. CLIMATIC
  11. 11. North Italy has the climate of the temperate region of Europe . Center Italy is genial and sunny. Southern Italy is almost tropical. This variety of climatic condition is sufficient to account for diversity of architectural features and treatment in the peninsula itself
  12. 12. The climatic conditions in Roman provinces as Egypt , Syria, and North Africa where christianity was established were varied , and naturally modified the style in those countries where the fiercer sun and hotter climatic necessitated small windows and other Eastern features.
  14. 14. I- Religious • In all human history there is no record so striking as that of the rise of Christianity a phenomenon so outstanding as the rapidity with which it was diffused throughout the civilized world, and, not only in this period but also in all subsequent ages. • Christianity has inspired the building of some of the greatest architectural monuments.
  15. 15. The number of Christian communities established by the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys round the Eastern Mediterranean, in Syria, Africa, Greece, and Italy, might lead us to expect many more ruins of Early Christian basilican churches throughout these districts. Old St. Peter's Basilica
  16. 16. • In this connection, however, it must be remembered that the God preached by S. Paul was " not like unto gold or silver or stone graven by art and device of man," nor a God that dwelled " in temples made with hands " like those of the old Greeks and Romans which were built to shelter the statues of the gods. • Purpose of the Christian church was to shelter worshippers who met for prayer and praise to an unseen Deity, and, during the unsettled conditions at the beginning of Christianity, various places were adapted for this worship. • Building of pagan temples ceased before any attempt was made to build Christian churches. • In A.D. 313 Constantine issued his celebrated decree from Milan, giving Christianity equal rights with other religions. • in A.D. 323 he himself professed Christianity, which became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and the Christians then began to build churches of a type suit-able to their needs and ritual.
  17. 17. II-Social • Constantine changed the capital of the Empire from Rome to Byzantium in A.D. 324, when the old Roman political system came to an end, and reigned as an absolute monarch till his death in A.D. 337. • Christianity suffered disabilities upon the division of the Roman Empire, which first took place in A.D. 365 when Valentinian became Emperor of the West and his brother Valens of the East. Colossal marble head of Emperor Constantine the Great, Roman, 4th century
  18. 18. Theodosius the Great (A.D. 379-395) reunited, for a time, the Eastern and Western Empires, and in A.D. 438 Theodosius II published his legal code, an important work on the constitutions of the Emperors from the time of Constantine. The series of Emperors in the West came to an end in A.D. 475, and the Eastern and Western Empires were nominally reunited by Zeno, who reigned at Constantinople. Theodosius the Great Zeno depicted on a Tremissis; the coin's design celebrates Zeno's victories, and was issued during his second reign.
  19. 19. -Then again the seat of power was changed, and Theodoric the Goth reigned in Italy (A.D. 493–526) during a period of peace and prosperity -Byzantine art influenced Early Christian art by way of Ravenna, which rivaled Rome in importance and was the capital of the Gothic Dynasty A.D. 493–552 with the exception of a short period when it was subdued by Justinian (A.D. 537) Bronze statue of Theoderic the Great -Kings were now elected for the separate states of Spain, Gaul, Northern Africa, and Italy, where King Odoacer recognized the supremacy of the one Roman Emperor at Constantinople. -Emancipation of Western Europe from direct Imperial control resulted in the development of Romano-Teutonic civilization, it facilitated the growth of new states and nationalities, gave a fresh impulse to Christianity, and eventually strengthened the power of the Bishops of Rome.
  20. 20. Mausoleum of Galla Placidia Basilica of San Vitale
  21. 21. III- Historical • The Early Christian period is generally taken as lasting from Constantine to the death of Gregory the Great (A.D. 604), although in Rome and many Italian cities it continued up to the tenth century. • Huns incursions into Germany about A.D. 376 eventually brought about invasions from the north into Italy, and in A.D. 410 Rome itself was sacked by the Goths under Alaric. Spread of the new religion was arrested during this period of change and upheaval, till A.D. 451, the defeat of Attila, King of the Huns, at the battle of Chalons aided in the consolidation of Christianity in Europe Battle of Châlons
  22. 22. • In A.D. 568 the Lombards penetrated into Italy and held the northern part for 200 years. In A.D. 800 Charlemagne was crowned by the Pope in Rome, and from this date the Empire was styled the Holy Roman Empire, a title retained till A.D. 1800. Miniature depicting Pope Leo III crowning Charlemagne emperor on Christmas Day, 800
  23. 23. Under Pope Gregory the Great (A.D. 590–604) Early Christian architecture, the latest phase of Roman art, gradually fell into disuse, and for the next two centuries architectural development was practically at a standstill in Europe Even though the influence of Byzantium asserted itself, old Roman traditions were in abeyance till the time when Romanesque architecture gradually evolved. Pope Gregory dictating the Gregorian chant
  26. 26. •Early Christian architecture may be taken to have lasted from about 300 to 600 AD. • •The Early Christians, as Roman craftsmen, continued old Roman traditions •Utilized as far as possible the materials from Roman temples which had become useless for their original purpose for their new buildings. •Their churches, modeled on Roman basilicas, used old columns which by various devices were brought to a uniform height. •Early Christian buildings hardly have the architectural value of a style produced by the solution of constructive problems. EARLY CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE- INTRODUCTION
  27. 27. o Balitican churches had either closely spaced columns carrying the entablature, or more widely spaced columns carrying semicircular arches. Semicircular- according to the shape of Jesus’ halo
  28. 28. o The basilican church with there or five aisles, covered by a simple timber roof, is typical of the Early Christian style as opposed to the vaulted Byzantine church with its central circular dome placed over a square by means of pendentives and surrounded by smaller domes.
  29. 29. o It s long perspective of oft-repeated columns which carry the eye along to the sanctuary; a treatment which, combined with the comparatively low height of interiors, makes these churches appear longer than they really are, as it seen in S. Paolo fuori le Mura, and S. Maria Maggiore
  30. 30. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH BUILDING The church building as we know it grew out of a number of features of theAncient Roman period: 1. The house church 2. The atrium 3. The basilica 4. The bema 5. The mausoleum: centrally-planned building 6. The cruciform ground plan: Latin or Greek cross a . S i m p l i c i t y i n D e s i g n a n d Tr e a t m e n t b. Co a r s e n e s s i n E x e c u t i o n Early Christian Architecture is Transitional Architecture and have no own structure
  31. 31. 1. House church The first house church is where the disciples of Jesus met together in the "Upper Room" of a house. For the first three centuries of the church, known as Early Christianity, Christians typically met in homes, if only because intermittent persecution (before the Edict of Milan in 313) did not allow the erection of public church buildings. Clement of Alexandria, an early church father, wrote of worshipping in a house. The Dura-Europos church was found to be used as a Christian meeting place in AD 232, with one small room serving as a baptistery. At many points in subsequent history, various Christian groups worshipped in homes, often due to persecution by the state church or the civil government. The Dura-Europos house church, ca. 232, with chapel area on right.
  32. 32. 2. Atrium When Early Christian communities began to build churches they drew on one particular feature of the houses that preceded them, the atrium, or courtyard with a colonnade surrounding it. Most of these atriums have disappeared. A fine example remains at the Basilica of San Clemente (Rome) ATRIUM
  33. 33. 3. Basilica Basilica typical plan. Types of Apse A, A, apse 1. Semi-circular (Italian) B,B’, secondary apse 2. Polygonal (German) C, high altar 3. Square (English) G, transept 4. Compound (French) H, nave J,J’, aisles Interior of a basilica at Pompeii Is a rectangular early Christian or medieval church, usually having a nave with clerestories, two or four aisles, one or more vaulted apses, and a timber roof
  34. 34. SANT’ APOLLINARE, RAVENNA. PART OF THE ARCADE AND APSE Many basilica churches were erected out of fragments taken from older buildings, and present a curious mixture of columns, capitals, &c.; others, especially those at Ravenna, exhibit more care, and are noble specimens of ancient and severe architectural work. The illustration which we give of part of the nave, arcade, and apse of one of these, Sant’ Apollinare in Classe, shows the dignified yet ornate aspect of one of the most carefully executed of these buildings
  35. 35. Parts of an Early Christian Basilica 1) Propylaeum- the entrance building of a sacred precinct, whether church or imperial palace. 2) Atrium- in early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval architecture, the forecourt of a church; as a rule enveloped by four colonnaded porticoes. 3) Narthex- the entrance hall or porch proceding the nave of a church. 4) Nave- the great central space in a church. In longitudinal churches, it extends from the entrance to the apse (or only to the crossing if the church has one) and is usually flanked by side aisles. 5) Side Aisle- one of the corridors running parallel to the nave of a church and separated from it by an arcade or colonnade. 6) Crossing- the area in a church where the transept and the nave intersect. 7) Transept- in a cruciform church, the whole arm set at right angles to the nave. Note that the transept appears infrequently in Early Christian churches. Old St. Peter's is one of the few example of a basilica with a transept from this period. The transept would not become a standard component of the Christian church until the Carolingian period. 8) Apse- a recess, sometimes rectangular but usually semicircular, in the wall at the end of a Roman basilica or Christian church. The apse in the Roman basilica frequently contained an image of the Emperor and was where the magistrate dispensed laws. In the Early Christian basilica, the apses contained the "cathedra" or throne of the bishop and the altar. Old St. Peter's in Rome
  36. 36. 4. Mausoleum Monumental form of tomb. A mouseleum is a house of the dead, although ii is often as much a symbol as a sepulchre. This term has been employed for large, monumental, and stately tombs, usually erected for distinguished or prominent individuals. Mauseleum of Costantia (d. 534), featured a taller, domed, central circular section surrounded by a vaulted ambulatory.
  37. 37. 5. Latin cross and Greek cross Greek cross; Latin cross; rotunda These terms usually refer to the shape of a church. A Greek cross church has four arms having the same length. A Latin cross church has the arm of the entrance longer than the other arms. Greek cross- the plans of SS. Martina e Luca) Rotunda- the plans of S. Bernardo alle Terme Latin cross plan- building process of S. Pietro in Vaticano
  38. 38. Baptistery Lateran Baptistery, the first structure expressly built as a baptistery This is commonly a detached building, and almost always circular or polygonal. In some instances the baptistery adjoins the atrium or forecourt; but it soon became customary to erect detached baptisteries of considerable size. These generally have a high central portion carried by a ring of columns, and a low aisle running round, the receptacle for water being in the centre. The origin of these buildings is not so clear as that of the basilica churches; they bear some resemblance to the Roman circular temples; but it is more probable that the form was suggested by buildings similar in general arrangement, and forming part of a Roman bath. In Christian architecture the baptistery or baptistery, is the separate centrally-planned structure surrounding the baptismal font. The baptistery may be incorporated within the body of a church or cathedral and be provided with an altar as a chapel.
  41. 41. BASILICA: Typical plan. A, D, apse B, B’, secondary apse; C, high altar; G, transept; H, nave; J, J’, aisles Types of Apse 1. Semi-circular (Italian) 2. Polygonal (German) 3. Square (English) 4. Compound (French)
  42. 42. CHURCHES
  44. 44. A. Plans • The Early Christians followed the basilican model for their new churches. • May also have used old Roman halls, baths, dwelling-houses, and even pagan temples as places of worship COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
  45. 45. B. Walls • These were still constructed according to Roman methods of using rubble or concrete, faced with plaster, brick, or stone. • Mosaic decoration was added internally, and sometimes also externally on west facades. • Little regard was paid to external architectural effect.
  46. 46. C. Openings • Arcades, doors, and windows were either spanned by a semicircular arch • Which in nave arcades, often rested directly on the capitals without any entablatures, or were spanned by a lintel..
  47. 47. D. Roofs • Timber roofs covered the central nave, and only simple forms of construction, such as king and queen post trusses, were employed. • The narrower side aisles were occasionally vaulted and the • Apse was usually domed and lined with beautiful glass mosaics, which formed a fitting background to the sanctuary .
  48. 48. E. Columns • Differ both in design and size, often taken from earlier Roman buildings. It was natural that early Christian builders should use materials and ornament of the pagan Romans. • Used Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, or Composite from ancient Roman buildings, except those in S. Paolo fuori le Mura. • The carved capitals are governed by Roman pagan precedent and sometimes by that of Byzantine, and in both the acanthus leaf forms an important part.
  49. 49. F. Mouldings • Coarse variations of old Roman types, and the carving, though rich in general effect, is crude ; for the technique of the craftsman had gradually declined. • Enrichments were incised on moldings in low relief, and the acanthus ornament, although still copied from the antique, became more conventional in form.
  50. 50. G. Ornaments • The introduction of color gave richness and glimmering mystery to interiors. • The mosaics which was the principal form of interior ornament, lined the domed apses generally represented Christ surrounded by apostles and saints with all those symbolic emblems. Usually made of glass • Fresco painting usually in figure forms
  52. 52. • The Church of St. Clement • Rome,Italy • Rebuilt 1084-1108 over a 4th century church
  53. 53. 2. Ante-portico, or porch. 3. Atrium, or court; under which the penitent, and those who had fallen away from the faith, demanded the prayers of the passers by. 4. One of the side aisles, in which were the men, the catachumens, and the newly converted. 5. Aisles on the right for the women, narrower than the other. 6. Space enclosed with a low wall of marble, within which were the acolytes, the exorcists, and other functionaries of the minor orders. 7. Sanctuary terminated in a semicircle, round which is the bench for the priests with the episcopal seat; in the center an isolated altar, and in front the Confession. 5
  54. 54. Elevation of the ante-portico or porch before the atrium of the Church of St. Clement, Rome
  55. 55. At the center of San Clemente's forecourt there is a fountain, a traditional symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  56. 56. View of the nave, the schola cantorum with ambos to either side, the altar and confessio under the ciborium,and the bema at the back of the apse
  57. 57. Front of the Ambon, designed for the reading of the Gospel, accompanied by the column on which was, and still is, placed the paschal candle. Profile of the marble pulpit for the reading of the Epistle. Part of the low wall or dado forming the enclosure of the choir of St. Clement. Another portion of the same.
  58. 58. View of the nave, the schola cantorum with ambos to either side, the altar and confessio under the ciborium and the bema at the back of the apse. The richly profiled altar is inscribed with a dedication to St. Clement, whose relics, along with those of St. Ignatius, lie directly underneath in the confessio. Here is a beautiful detail, common in paleo-Christian churches, yet unfortunately never seen today. The confessio is simply a chamber for relics below an altar. As a unit, the confessio and altar form a cube, which is the ideal geometry of an altar.
  59. 59. The altar sits just proud of the center of the half-dome, the apse. The spectacular mosaic tells us that this is truly the new Garden of Eden. From the Cross's base grows a sumptuously poetic Tree of Life, filled with doves, peacocks, phoenixes, and images of various saints.
  60. 60. Above the Cross is the crowned Hand of God the Father, and below the scene is the Lamb of God surrounded by twelve lambs, the apostles, each with a corresponding portrait on the wall below (plus the Blessed Virgin to Christ's right).
  61. 61. • Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe • Ravenna, Italy
  62. 62. The church is on a nave and two aisles. An ancient altar in the mid of the nave covers the place of the saint's martyrdom. The church ends with a polygonal apse, sided by two chapels with apses.
  63. 63. The nave contains 24 columns of Greek marble. The carved capitals of the columns depict acanthus leaves, but unlike most such carvings the leaves appear twisted as if being buffeted by the wind.
  64. 64. The decoration of the apse date to the 6th century, and can be divided into two parts: In the upper one, a large disc encloses a starry sky in which is a cross with gems and the face of Christ. Over the cross is a hand protruding from the clouds, the theme of the Hand of God. In the lower one is a green valley with rocks, bush, plants and birds. In the middle is the figure of Saint Apollinaris, portrayed in the act of praying God to give grace to his faithful, symbolized by twelve white lambs. In the spaces between the windows are the four bishops who founded the main basilicas in Ravenna: Ursicinus, Ursus, Severus and Ecclesius, all with a book in a hand.
  65. 65. half-dome
  66. 66. Other buildings
  67. 67. The Church of Santa Fosca
  68. 68. Elevation of the Church of Santa Fosca. Transverse section of the church and portico. Plan of the Church of Sta. Fosca at Torcello, one of the islands of the lagunes of Venice. On three sides it is surrounded by a portico, with arches on columns, some of which are round, and the others octagonal in plan.
  69. 69. Basilica of Trier C. 310 A.D. Basilica Trier, Germany
  70. 70. Basilica of Trier
  71. 71. Old St Peter’s C. 333 A.D. Basilica Rome, Italy
  72. 72. Old St Peter’s
  73. 73. Santa Constanza C. 350 A.D. Martyrium Rome, Italy
  74. 74. Santa Constanza plan and section