Saint Sernin of Toulouse and Notre Dame of Paris

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Saint Sernin of Toulouse and Notre Dame of Paris

When one thinks of St. Sernin and Notre Dame, one tends to think of two beautiful cathedrals, not to churches that portray two totally different styles of architecture. Those two styles are, of course, Romanesque in St. Sernin and the Gothic style of Notre Dame. Some characteristics that these two buildings share include quest for height, basic floor plan, and artistic flair. The period of Romanesque architecture, which lasted roughly from 1050 A.D. to 1150 A.D., concentrated mainly on achieving massive proportions, rounded vaulted bays, the round arch, the wall buttress, cylindrical apse and chapels, and towers. Early Gothic architecture, which began in 1144 with the dedication of Saint Denis, concentrated more on mastering the idea of an obscenely high ceiling, as well as ribbed and pointed vaults, the relationship between the structure and its appearance, and perhaps, most importantly the use of light.

One of the most enjoyable things about comparing the two structures of St. Sernin and Notre Dame is that there are so many differences as far as the particulars go, but in general the two cathedrals are very, very much alike. Through the years, enough architectural and engineering advances had been made to raise the ceiling to staggering new heights of over one hundred feet. The materials remained the same as they had for years before, stone and mortar. The basic floor plan remained the same, a cross. The nave had become longer and more spectacular and the ceiling had been heightened due to recent discovery of vaulted ceilings, but other than that, it was the same floor plan as ever. The cathedrals were designed to draw vast numbers of people them, therefore they were built so that one might not only come to worship, but to see the beauty of the structure. Even to this day people are in awe of these building, and come more to stare at their beauty than to worship God.

Regardless of how many...
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