In Norway, the Medieval Churches, known as "StavKirker" (in Norwegian, "Stav" refers to a type of wooden column, and "Kirker" means church), stand out as iconic structures. They emerged in the 11th century following the country's conversion to Christianity, reflecting Norwegian expertise in ship carpentry inherited from the Vikings. This expertise transformed wooden construction, innovating woodcraft techniques and turning these buildings into aesthetically significant compositions.
Middle Ages: The Latest Architecture and News
After a prolonged period known as the Middle-Ages, a growing desire to both study and mimic nature itself began to emerge, with an inclination to discover and explore the world. Between 1400-1600 A.D. Europe was to witness a significant revival of the fine arts, painting, sculpture, and Architecture. The ‘Renaissance’, meaning ‘rebirth’ in French typically refers to this period of European history, although most closely associated with Italy, countries including England and France went through many of the same cultural changes at varying timescales.
Prior to the dawn of the Renaissance, Europe was dominated by ornate and asymmetrical Gothic Architecture. Devoured by the plague, the continent lost approximately a third of its population, vastly changing society in terms of economic, social and religious effect. Contributing to Europe’s emergence into the Renaissance, the period ushered in a new era of architecture after a phase of Gothic art, with the rise of notions of ‘Humanism’. The idea of attaching much importance to the essence of individualism. The effect of Humanism included the emergence of the individual figure, greater realism and attention to detail, especially in depictions in art.
The origin of Gothic architecture, a style which defined Europe in the later Middle Ages, can be traced to a single abbey church in the northern suburbs of Paris. The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis (Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis), constructed on the site of an abbey and reliquary established in Carolingian (800-888 CE) times, was partially rebuilt under the administration of Abbot Suger in the early 12th Century; these additions—utilizing a variety of structural and stylistic techniques developed in the construction of Romanesque churches in the preceding centuries—would set medieval architecture on a new course that would carry it through the rest of the epoch.