Architectural styles Romanesque style 9th – 13th century The term Romanesque, like many other stylistic designations, was not a term contemporary with the art it describes but an invention of modern scholarship to categorize a period. The term “Romanesque” attempts to link the architecture, especially, of the 11th and 12th centuries in medieval Europe to Roman architecture based on similarities of forms and materials. Romanesque architecture is characterized by the use of round arches, curved vaults (barrel vaults), heavy pillars and relatively small windows. The great carved portals of 12th century church facades parallel the architectural novelty of the period: monumental stone sculpture was reborn in the Romanesque. Brno: Church of St Giles, Brno-Komárov. Brno environs: Church of Sts Peter and Paul, Řeznovice; St Catherine’s Rotunda, Znojmo – both SW of Brno. Portal of the Cistercian abbey at Předklášteří, about 25 km NW of Brno. Gothic style 13th – 16th century Gothic architecture is typically associated with cathedrals and other churches (though it is also found in secular buildings); the style flourished in Europe during the high and late medieval period. Originating in 12th century France, it was referred to by contemporaries as “the French Style”; the term “Gothic” first appeared in the 16th century, and was meant as an insult. The style emphasizes verticality and features almost skeletal stone structures with great expanses of glass, pointed arches, pointed vaults (ribbed vaults), clustered columns, sharply pointed spires and pinnacles, and inventive sculptural detail such as gargoyles. These features all reflected a wish to “open up” the interior space through the use of large stained-glass windows that allowed more light to enter than was possible with older styles. To achieve this “light” style, flying buttresses were often used as a means of external support to enable higher ceilings and slender columns. Brno: the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady (Staré Brno); St James’s Church (Rašínova); cloister at New Town Hall (Dominikánské nám); carved portal to Old Town Hall (Radnická 8-10). Renaissance style 16th – 17th century (in the Czech lands) Between the 14th and the 16th centuries there were the stirrings of a new cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaissance (literally the “Rebirth”), because it revived and developed certain elements of Classical Greek and Roman thought and material culture. The cities of Italy in the early 1400s, and Florence in particular, were centres of the development of the burgeoning Humanist ideas. The Renaissance brought a new emphasis on rational clarity and with it a conscious revival of Roman architecture with its symmetry, its mathematical proportions, geometrically-perfect designs and regularity of parts. Orderly arrangements of columns and lintels, regularly divided surfaces, semicircular arches and hemispherical domes replaced the haphazard proportions and irregular gabled facades which preceded the new style. Brno: spire of the Old Town Hall tower; House of the Lords of Kunštát (Dominikánské 9); Schwanz House (House of the Lords of Lipa – nám. Svobody 17) Baroque style 17th – 18th century The Baroque style used exaggerated motion and rich detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy, and spread to most of Europe. The popularity and success of the Baroque was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which favoured the arts communicating religious themes through direct, emotional involvement. The secular aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumphant power and control. Baroque secular architecture is characterized by elaborate sequences of courts, anterooms, grand staircases and reception rooms; Baroque religious architecture employs rich, swirling ornamentation and a dramatic use of light. In similar profusions of detail, art, music, architecture and literature inspired each other in the Baroque cultural movement, as artists explored what they could create from repeated and varied patterns. Brno: St Thomas’s Church (Moravské nám); St Johns’ Church (Minoritská), Jesuit Church (Jezuitská); Parnassus Fountain (Zelný trh [Cabbage Market]); the New Town Hall (Dominikánské nám.) Rococo style 18th century The Rococo style of art emerged in France in the early 18th century as a continuation of the Baroque style, but in contrast to the heavier themes and darker colors of the Baroque, the Rococo was characterized by grace, playfulness and lightness, and a conscious attempt at less formality and balance in design. Brno: Reduta Theatre (Zelný trh [Cabbage Market] – exterior); Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul (nave and sculptures there) Classicism 18th and early 19th century In the middle of the 18th century, Europe began to move to a new style in architecture, literature and the arts generally, known as Classicism. Though marked by a certain formality and emphasis on order and hierarchy, the new style was also a cleaner style, one that favored clearer divisions between parts, brighter contrasts and colors, and simplicity rather than complexity. Brno: Mitrovský Summerhouse (na Nivkách), Denis Park (obelisk and pavilion) Historicism second half of the 19th century Beginning around 1840, earlier styles began to be adapted and reinterpreted, with their elements being drawn on in eclectic fashion to create paraphrases of the earlier, original styles. These have been termed historicizing, or “neo-”, styles – neo-Gothic, neo-Renaissance, neo-Baroque, etc. Brno: Neo-Gothic: Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul; Red Church; University gymnasium (Komenského nám); Neo-Renaissance: Besední dům (Komenského nám). NeoClassical: Janáček Academy of the Performing Arts (Komenského nám). Neo-Baroque: Mahen Theatre (Malinovského nám.) Art Nouveau style about 1890 – 1915 Hallmarks of the Art Nouveau style include flat, decorative patterns; intertwined organic forms such as stems or flowers and, in general, sinuous, curving lines; the unusual use of colours; and, in the applied arts, an emphasis on handcrafting as opposed to machine manufacturing. In the Czech lands, the style is known as “Secese” (“Secession”); in Austria, “Sezession”; in Germany, “Jugendstyl” (“Youth style”). Brno: the Art Nouveau addition to the Grand Hotel (Benešova 18/20); Art Nouveau building at Minoritská 8; Art Nouveau building at Veveří 14; Jurkovič Villa (Jana Nečase 2, Brno-Žabovřesky) Modernism about 1900 – 1925 Partly a reaction to Historicism and Art Nouveau, Modernism stripped away ornamentation and stressed form and experimentation with new (and sometimes quite expensive) materials. Brno: Reissig Villa (Hlinky 148); Church of the Divine Heart, Brno-Husovice; Jarůšek House (Palackého 65); District Health Payments Office (Milady Horakové 24/26); District Sickness Fund (Nerudova 11) Functionalism about 1910 – 1940 In architecture, it is the principle that the design of a building should be based on the purpose of that building – “Form follows function.” The term is used loosely for a number of different movements and individuals, in particular the Bauhaus in Germany, led by Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe (“Less is more.”), and the Swiss architect Le Corbusier (“A house is a machine for living in.”). Many Functionalists were strongly committed socially, being convinced that good design could actually help to improve society; they were concerned with designing not only commercial properties and private homes and but also mass housing. Interwar Czechoslovakia was one of the major centres of Functionalism; the greatest concentration of Functionalist architects and buildings was to be found in Brno. Brno: Villa Tugendhat (Černopolní 45); Zeman Café (Jezuitská 6); Era Café (Zemědělská 30); buildings at the Brno Exhibition Grounds See also the Brno Architecture Manual (http://www.bam.brno.cz/en), an amazing online guide to architecture in Brno from 1918 to 1945.