windows in church architecture


The public character of Christian worship necessitated large windows for light. In the East the form was generally rectangular with a narrow top. In the West the basilicas were provided with large windows. In the 12th century Romanesque art evolved the clustered window with frame of slender shafts. The arch was round or trefoil. In the Gothic the windows were longer and broader and were in the form of two narrow lights combined by a common shaft under a pointed arch. The arches were filled with tracery, at first consisting of circles and segments, later of wave-like designs. The shafts and intrados gradually received richer contours. The Renaissance returned to the round-arched clustered window. Rectangular frames were also used in which the entablature rests on two pilasters. The Baroque style added a basket-handled arch and oval form. Flat or profiled framing was preferred, in which the cornice assumed an arbitrary form. Classicism simplified the frame. In the Louis XVI and Empire styles ornamentation was limited to the top-piece.

MLA Citation

  • “windows in church architecture”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 November 2019. Web. 5 March 2021. <>