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German Romanesque - Architectural Character

( Originally Published 1921 )

German Romanesque architecture dates from the eighth to the twelfth century. The style, owing to historical influences (as mentioned above), bears a striking similarity to that of Lombardy, and in some instances lasted as late as the middle of the thirteenth century, more especially in the Rhineland and Saxony, where it is found in its most highly developed form.

Church plans are peculiar in having both western and eastern apses (p. 292 J), and thus there are no great western entrances as in France. The reason for these double apses has never been thoroughly explained ; some think that the eastern apse may have been used for the abbot and monks and the western apse for the bishop and laity, or that the western apse may be the survival of the detached baptistery which had been usual in earlier churches. The general character is picturesque by reason of numerous circular and octagonal turrets, polygonal domes, and arcaded galleries under the eaves (p. 292 F). Doorways were placed laterally in the aisles and are the most richly ornamented features of the churches, with shafts and capitals boldly and effectively carved. Vaulting appears not to have come into use in the Rhenish churches until some fifty years after its general adoption in France.

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