The architecture has had several great cradles: Central Asia, India, China, Egypt, Andean America and Mesoamerica. In each of these countries it attained a certain development, but it was hindered, because the talent of the artists was compressed within narrow limits by severe laws, laws of religion, laws of despotism, laws of caste. In Asia, architecture is often theatrical in nature, to which the exaggerated luxury of unbridled ornamentation contributes.
In India, the monuments seem to want to fight wild and disorderly with the bitter and rough mountains of the country. Free artists of Greece imagined laws of proportion and applied them with rare talent. It was then that the three Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders were created, which have remained since that time the basis of all classical architecture.
The Romans, with this propensity to the appropriation which distinguished them, borrowed from Etruria an element, the arch and the vault, which was there only in germ; and developed it with the power of means at their disposal. The vault, combined with the Greek orders, forms the distinctive feature of Roman art. But it had been kept within narrow limits; the Pantheon of Agrippa shows the end of the efforts of the Roman builders. It was only with considerable expense that it had been possible to build a single-jet vault in vast dimensions. But the baths having required vast covered rooms, it was possible to build broken vaults and pendants, lighter and skilfully counter- buttressed by accessory parts of the building. The arts had disappeared, and there remained only the science of the process, when the Emperor Justinian thought to erect the church of Saint Sophia in Constantinople. The architects took the arches of the baths to cover the new temple, and, abandoning the basilical style adopted by early Christians, created the type of Byzantine architecture.
The architecture follows later two great currents one goes to the West, where it formed the Romanesque style; the other, towards the East, where the architecture became Arab or Moorish.
In the XIXth century, it was proposed to the history of architecture in the West, classified into 4 periods interesting to know everything despite its relative nature:
The first period
The first, which extends from the establishment of Christianity to the XI th century, includes Latin style or Gallo-Roman, more or less imperfect imitation of ancient architecture and the Byzantine style, the monument Type is the Hagia Sophia church, built in the VI th century Constantinople; then the duration of the Merovingian dynasty, which characterizes the influence of Roman art in complete decline, and the duration of the Carlovingian dynasty, under which begins the Byzantine art brought by Greek artists who had driven the iconoclastic emperors and What does Charlemagne welcome?
The second period
The second period, which embraces the XI th and XII th centuries, is the time of the Romanesque style. In the XI th century, art offers a mix of classic Greek Revival architecture; the XII th, Oriental influences, strongly revived by the Crusades, give it a fulfillment, unusual richness and finesse previously in the ornamentation and execution.
The third period
The third period extends from the beginning of the XII th century, simultaneously with the end of the Romanesque period to the middle of the XVI th; it is the reign of the Gothic or Gothic style, the highest expression of the Christian spirit.
The fourth period
The fourth period is the beginning of the XVI th century, simultaneously with the end of the Gothic period to the middle of the XVII th; it is the return to the antique or the Renaissance. The first half of the XVI th century is marked by the mixture of styles and classic Gothic. From the second half of the XVI th century to the middle of the XVII th, art abandons all the old traditions of the Gothic, but retains a special and different character of ancient architectures.
This great classification can only be rigorously accepted for France, and it varies considerably in the north and south of Europe. To the north the Gothic style perseveres longer; it is difficult to transform, and gives way only slowly to the new ideas of the Renaissance. In the south, on the contrary, Gothic architecture, which was accepted only with regret, was promptly overthrown by the return of ancient art.
From the XIX th century reign most complete eclecticism; is the study and practice of all the old styles, with a lot of science, but new ideas into the 1870s, and especially to the first decades of the XX th century, during which the architecture takes a new departure (Eiffel, Gaudi, Chicago School (Richardson, Sullivan, FL Wright), Bauhaus (Gropius), Le Corbusier, etc.).
From time immemorial architects have felt that there were non-customary affinities between buildings and men. The architectural criticism the confused expression that speaks of the skeleton, limbs, head or epidermis of a construction. But this diffuse impression has sometimes aroused the architects' express desire to establish an analogical relationship between the buildings and the human body. Under a great diversity of forms, these relations can be reduced to two types: on the one hand, apparent morphological resemblances which affect mainly the supports (caryatids, Atlanteans, medieval statues-columns) and their termination (terms); on the other hand, more abstract and latent analogies which require an exegesis.
Vitruvius, a fundamental source in this field, taught his readers of the Renaissance the origin of caryatids: female statues in Greek public monuments commemorating the defeat of the inhabitants of Carya, guilty of having allied with the Persians and whose function as support expressed visually the enslavement. The caryatids of the Erechtheion of Athens are the most famous example. The motive of caryatide was an exceptional success in the architecture of the SIXTEENTH century. century, built, painted (wall decorations or patterns of paintings, sets of shows and official holidays), drawn and engraved (architectural treatises, collections of architectural models).