German Romanesque - Examples
( Originally Published 1921 )
Aix-la-Chapelle Cathedral (A.D. 796—804) (p. 231 E, F, G), built by the Emperor Charlemagne as his royal tomb-house, resembles S. Vitale, Ravenna (p. 231 c, D). The entrance, flanked by staircase turrets, leads into a polygon of sixteen sides, 105 ft. in diameter. Every two angles of this polygon converge on to one pier, and thus form an internal octagon, the eight piers of which support a dome 47 ft. 6 ins. in diameter, rising above the two-storeyed surrounding aisles. The building has been much altered since the time of Charlemagne, for the Gothic choir was added (A.D. 1353—1413), the gables date from the thirteenth century and the lofty outer roof of the octagon from the seventeenth century. The surrounding chapels are of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the western steeple has been added in recent years (p. 231 F). The building is of historic interest as the prototype of other similar churches in Germany, but more especially as the place of coronation of the Holy Roman Emperors.
Gernrode Abbey (A.D. 958—1050) has nave, covered by a wooden roof, aisles, and a fine triforium, and is probably the earliest instance of a church with an apse at both ends, a feature peculiar to Germany.
The Monastery of S. Gall (c. A.D. 820) (pp. 244, 248), though in Switzer-land, is a typical German Benedictine monastery of the period. A complete plan found in the seventeenth century appears to have been prepared by Eginhardt, Charlemagne's architect, and shows a double-apse church with cloisters, abbot's lodging, school, refectory, dormitory, guest-house, dispensary, infirmary, granaries, bakehouses, orchard, and cemetery—thus showing the thoroughness with which every need was provided for in the planning of a monastic colony.
S. Godehard, Hildesheim (A.D. 1133), and S. Michael, Hildesheim (A.D. 1150), have nave arcades in which both square piers and columns are used to support semicircular arches.
The Church of the Apostles, Cologne (A.D. 1220-50) (p. 291), is one of the series of triapsal churches in that city. The plan consists of a broad nave, aisles half its width, western transepts, and a triapsal choir, while over the crossing a low octagonal tower gives dignity to the effective external grouping (p. 291 C). The entrance is by a northern porch, and there is no great western portal as in France, the west end being occupied by a tower flanked by stair turrets, crowned with a typical Rhenish roof. The triapsal end has wall arcading in two storeys crowned with the characteristic eaves arcade, and on the south side are the cloisters.
S. Maria im Capitol, Cologne (rebuilt A.D. 1047), S. Martin, Cologne (A.D. 1150-70)., and S. Cunibert, Cologne, are other triapsal churches.
Worms Cathedral (A.D. 1110–1200) (p. 292) vies with the Cathedrals of Spires (A.D. 1030) and Mayence (A.D. 1o36) as a representative church of this period. The plan is apsidal at both ends, with eastern and western octagons, while one vaulting bay of the nave corresponds with two of the aisles, and cross-vaults are employed in both cases (p. 292 C, J). Twin circular towers containing stairs flank the eastern and western apses, and the crossing of the nave and transept is covered with a low octagonal tower, crowned with a pointed roof. The entrances are in the aisles, a position which found favour both in Germany and England. The lateral facades have circular-headed windows, between the characteristic flat pilaster strips.
Laach Abbey (A.D. 1093-1156) has a church of the Benedictine Order. The plan differs from most others because on either side of the western apse, which is used as a tomb-house, are entrances from the great square atrium which still exists, and there are also three eastern apses. The vaulting bays of nave and aisles are of the same width, which shows an advance towards the Gothic system. The exterior is a fine grouping of six towers, double transepts, and east and west apses.
Lubeck. Cathedral (A.D. 1173) is an example of the brick architecture peculiar to north-west Germany ; but the Gothic choir and aisles were not added till A.D. 1335 (p. 488).
Treves Cathedral (A.D. 1016–47) is reminiscent of the antiquity and importance of the city which, in the fourth century, was the residence of Roman Emperors, and for nearly 1,500 years remained the seat of Bishops, Archbishops, and Electors. The cathedral succeeded a basilican church several times destroyed by Franks and Normans, but rebuilt and enlarged in the eleventh century. It has an eastern apse and also a western apse flanked by entrances, and forms an important group with the Liebfrauenkirche, which is described in German Gothic (p. 484).
Germany is remarkable for two-storeyed churches, generally attached to castles, as at Nuremberg, Landsberg, and Steinfurt in Westphalia. It is supposed that the upper church was used by the Prince and his retinue, and the lower by his retainers, but in some instances the upper church may have been provided in case of floods.