Europeans have been carving marble for thousands of years. Throughout these years, they have developed a number of sculptural and architectural styles. Marble has been one of the treasured materials for creating these sculptures and architectural features. It’s brilliant white with light gray veins give the stone visual diversity and create a beautiful look in the stone. There are many features that make these styles unique during each period.
Styles of European Marble Architecture and Sculpture Throughout History
Look at how European marble sculpture and architecture has evolved and changed through the years.
The Classical period occurred in Greece from 450 BC to 400 BC. During this time, the Greeks creating a number of beautiful reliefs in marble, creating highly detailed work. These reliefs were used to decorate the exterior of buildings. Columns were an important part of Classical architecture and many different styles of columns were developed during this time. In many ways, the Classical period has had the largest effect on European sculpture and styles. After the fall of the Greek empire, the Romans adopted a number of the architectural styles of Greeks.
The Gothic period occurred throughout Western Europe during the Middle Ages. During the Gothic period, stone and marble were used to create cathedrals, universities, and castles. Gothic architecture is recognizable through pointed arches and ribbed vaults. Many architects and sculptors see the Pisa Baptistry as an excellent example of marble architecture during the gothic period. Intricate door surrounds were highly valued during the Gothic period.
During the Renaissance, architects returned to Classical architectural and sculptural styles and techniques. Domes and high arches became more popular during this time. There was also a return of the Classical columns. The Renaissance had a huge impact on marble sculpture as artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello sculpted Biblical and Religious figures for a number of churches throughout Venice and Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica is generally known to be the best example of Renaissance architecture.
Baroque and Rococo
The 17th century and early 18th century marks the height of the Baroque and the Rococo period. Many of the features of Renaissance architecture were also in the Baroque period. However, the work became much more detailed and additional flourishes were desired. This highly detailed work is apparent in various parts of European palaces. Intricate mantelpieces, fountains, staircases, and courtyards made of marble and other stone materials were more in demand during this period than other periods of European architecture. The Baroque and Rococo are most recognizably displayed in the Palace of Versailles in France and Peterhof Palace in Russia.