Culture of Europe

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Europa and the Bull on a Greek vase, circa 480 BC

The culture of Europe is rooted in the art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy that originated from the European cultural region.[1] European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage".[2]

Definition[edit]

Because of the great number of perspectives which can be taken on the subject, it is impossible to form a single, all-embracing conception of European culture.[3] Nonetheless, there are core elements which are generally agreed upon as forming the cultural foundation of modern Europe.[4] One list of these elements given by K. Bochmann includes:[5]

Nobel Prize ceremony

Berting says that these points fit with "Europe's most positive realisations",[7] the concept of European culture is generally linked to the classical definition of the Western world. In this definition, Western culture is the set of literary, scientific, political, artistic and philosophical principles which set it apart from other civilizations. Much of this set of traditions and knowledge is collected in the Western canon,[8] the term has come to apply to countries whose history has been strongly marked by European immigration or settlement during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the Americas, and Australasia, and is not restricted to Europe..

The Nobel Prize laureate in Literature Thomas Stearns Eliot in his 1948 book Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, credited the prominent Christian influence upon the European culture:[9] "I am talking about the common tradition of Christianity which has made Europe what it is, and about the common cultural elements which this common Christianity has brought with it. If Asia were converted to Christianity tomorrow, it would not thereby become a part of Europe, it is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have--until recently--been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian Faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does, will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning. Only a Christian culture could have produced a Voltaire or a Nietzsche. I do not believe that the culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian Faith.[. . .] The Western World has its unity in this heritage, in Christianity and in the ancient civilisations of Greece, Rome, and Israel, from which, owing to two thousand years of Christianity, we trace our descent."

Art[edit]

Prehistoric Art[edit]

The Venus of Willendorf, figure from between 28,000 and 25,000 BC. Now in the  Naturhistorisches MuseumVienna. An example of prehistoric art.

Much surviving prehistoric art is small portable sculptures. It includes the oldest known representation of the human body, the Venus of Hohle Fel, dating from 35,000-40,000 BC, found in  Schelklingen, Germany. It is part of a small group of female Venus figurines found in Central Europe. The Löwenmensch figurine, from about 30,000 BC, is the oldest undisputed piece of figurative art. The Swimming Reindeer of about 11,000 BCE is among the finest Magdalenian carvings in bone or antler of animals in the art of the Upper Paleolithic. With the beginning of the Mesolithic in Europe figurative sculpture greatly reduced, and remained a less common element in art than relief decoration of practical objects until the Roman period, despite some works such as the Gundestrup cauldron from the European Iron Age and the Bronze Age Trundholm sun chariot.

The oldest European cave art dates back 40,800, and can be found in the El Castillo Cave in Spain, but cave art exists across the continent. Rock painting was also performed on cliff faces, but fewer of those have survived because of erosion. One well-known example is the rock paintings of Astuvansalmi in the Saimaa area of Finland.

The Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin represents a very different style, with the human figure the main focus, often seen in large groups, with battles, dancing and hunting all represented, as well as other activities and details such as clothing. The figures are generally rather sketchily depicted in thin paint, with the relationships between the groups of humans and animals more carefully depicted than individual figures, the Iberian examples are believed to date from a long period perhaps covering the Upper Paleolithic, Mesolithic and early Neolithic.

Prehistoric Celtic art comes from much of Iron Age Europe and survives mainly in the form of high-status metalwork skillfully decorated with complex, elegant and mostly abstract designs, often using curving and spiral forms. There are human heads and some fully represented animals, but full-length human figures at any size are so rare that their absence may represent a religious taboo, as the Romans conquered Celtic territories, it almost entirely vanishes, but the style continued in limited use in the British Isles, and with the coming of Christianity revived there in the Insular styleof the Early Middle Ages.

Classical Art[edit]

Fresco of three women from Knossos palace, Crete. An example of Minoan art.
Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus, 1st century AD, Vatican Museums. An example of Roman art.

Minoan art encompassed many media. Pottery was characterized by thin walled vessels, subtle, symmetrical shapes, elegant spouts, and decorations, and dynamic lines. Dark and light values were often contrasted in Minoan pottery. Early designs were spontaneous and fluid, with later ones becoming more stylized, and less naturalistic, the best known example of Minoan sculpture is the Snake Goddess figurine. The sculpture depicts a goddess or a high priestess holding a snake in both hands, dressed in traditional Minoan attire, cloth covering the whole body and leaving the breasts exposed. Exquisite metal work was also a characteristic of the Minoan art. Minoan metal masters worked with imported gold and copper and mastered techniques of wax casting, embossinggilding, nielo, and granulation. Minoan painting was unique in that it used wet fresco techniques; it was characterized by small waists, fluidity, and vitality of the figures and was seasoned with elasticity, spontaneity, vitality, and high-contrasting colours.

Laocoön and His Sons, Late Hellenistic, Vatican Museum. An example of Ancient Greek art.

Ancient Greek art stands out among that of other ancient cultures for its development of naturalistic but idealized depictions of the human body, in which largely nude male figures were generally the focus of innovation. The rate of stylistic development between about 750 and 300 BC was remarkable by ancient standards, and in surviving works is best seen in sculpture. There were important innovations in painting, which have to be essentially reconstructed due to the lack of original survivals of quality, other than the distinct field of painted pottery. Greek architecture, technically very simple, established a harmonious style with numerous detailed conventions that were largely adopted by Roman architecture and are still followed in some modern buildings. It used a vocabulary of ornament that was shared with pottery, metalwork and other media, and had an enormous influence on Eurasian art, especially after Buddhism carried it beyond the expanded Greek world created by Alexander the Great. The social context of Greek art included radical political developments and a great increase in prosperity; the equally impressive Greek achievements in philosophyliterature and other fields are well known.

Roman art was influenced by Greece and can in part be taken as a descendant of ancient Greek painting and sculpture, but was also strongly influenced by the more local Etruscan art of Italy. Sculpture was perhaps considered as the highest form of art by Romans, but figure painting was also very highly regarded. Roman sculpture is primarily portraiture derived from the upper classes of society as well as depictions of the gods. However, Roman painting does have important unique characteristics, among surviving Roman paintings are wall paintings, many from villas in Campania, in Southern Italy, especially at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Such painting can be grouped into four main "styles" or periods and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'oeil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape.

Almost the only painted portraits surviving from the Ancient world are a large number of coffin-portraits of bust form found in the Late Antique cemetery of Al-Fayum. They give an idea of the quality that the finest ancient work must have had. A very small number of miniatures from Late Antique illustrated books also survive, and a rather larger number of copies of them from the Early Medieval period. Early Christian art grew out of Roman popular, and later Imperial, art and adapted its iconography from these sources.

Medieval Art[edit]

Mosaic of Emperor Justinian and his court, from the church of San Vitale, Ravenna. An example of Byzantine art.

Byzantine art developed out of the art of the Roman Empire, which was itself profoundly influenced by ancient Greek art. Byzantine art never lost sight of this classical heritage, the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, was adorned with a large number of classical sculptures, although they eventually became an object of some puzzlement for its inhabitants. And indeed, the art produced during the Byzantine Empire, although marked by periodic revivals of a classical aesthetic, was above all marked by the development of a new, abstract, aesthetic, marked by anti-naturalism and a favour for symbolism.

The subject matter of monumental Byzantine art was primarily religious and imperial: the two themes are often combined, as in the portraits of later Byzantine emperors that decorated the interior of the sixth-century church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. However, the Byzantines inherited the Early Christian distrust of monumental sculpture in religious art, and produced only reliefs, of which very few survivals are anything like life-size, in sharp contrast to the medieval art of the West, where monumental sculpture revived from Carolingian art onwards. Small ivories were also mostly in relief, the so-called "minor arts" were very important in Byzantine art and luxury items, including ivories carved in relief as formal presentation Consular diptychs or caskets such as the Veroli caskethardstone carvingsenamelsglass, jewelry, metalwork, and figured silks were produced in large quantities throughout the Byzantine era.

The beginning of the Gospel of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels, produced in Northumbria and now in the British Library. An example of Insular art.
A purse lid from the Sutton Hoo burials, 7th century, an example of the Animal style.

Migration Period art includes the art of the Germanic tribes on the continent, as well the start of the Insular art or Hiberno-Saxon art of the Anglo-Saxonand Celtic fusion in the British Isles. It covers many different styles of art including the polychrome style and the animal style. After Christianization, Migration Period art developed into various schools of Early Medieval art in Western Europe which are normally classified by region, such as Anglo-Saxon art and Carolingian art, before the continent-wide styles of Romanesque art and finally Gothic art developed.

During the 2nd century the Goths of southern Russia discovered a newfound taste for gold figurines and objects inlaid with precious stones, this polychrome style was borrowed from Scythians and the Sarmatians, had some Greco-Roman influences, and was also popular with the Huns. Perhaps the most famous examples are found in the fourth-century Pietroasele treasure (Romania), which includes a great gold eagle brooch. The Animal Style first appeared in northwest Europe with the introduction of the chip carving technique applied to bronze and silver in the 5th century. It is characterized by animals whose bodies are divided into sections, and typically appear at the fringes of designs whose main emphasis is on abstract patterns, this was eventually supplanted by depictions of whole beasts, their bodies elongated into "ribbons" which intertwined into symmetrical shapes with no pretense of naturalism, rarely with legs, tending to be described as serpents- though heads often have characteristics of other animals.

Insular art is the style of art produced in the post-Roman history of Ireland and Britain. The term derives from insula, the Latin term for "island"; in this period Britain and Ireland shared a largely common style different from that of the rest of Europe. Surviving examples of Insular art are mainly illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and carvings in stone, especially stone crosses. Surfaces are highly decorated with intricate patterning, with no attempt to give an impression of depth, volume or recession, the best examples include the Book of KellsLindisfarne GospelsBook of Durrow, brooches such as the Tara Brooch and the Ruthwell CrossCarpet pages are a characteristic feature of Insular manuscripts, although historiated initials (an Insular invention), canon tables and figurative miniatures, especially Evangelist portraits, are also common.

Scenes from the life of David in the Morgan Leaf of the Winchester Bible, now in the Morgan Library. An example of Romanesque illumination.

Romanesque art is the art of Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The term was invented by 19th-century art historians, especially for Romanesque architecture, which retained many basic features of Roman architectural style. The Romanesque style was the first style to spread across the whole of Catholic Europe, from Sicily to Scandinavia. Romanesque art was greatly influenced by Byzantine art, especially in painting, and by Insular art. From these elements was forged a highly innovative and coherent style. Art of the period was characterised by a very vigorous style in both sculpture and painting, the latter continued to follow essentially Byzantine iconographic models for the most common subjects in churches, which remained Christ in Majesty, the Last Judgement and scenes from the Life of Christ. In illuminated manuscripts, for which the most lavishly decorated manuscripts of the period were mostly bibles or psalters, more originality is seen, as new scenes needed to be depicted. The same applied to the capitals of columns, never more exciting than in this period, when they were often carved with complete scenes with several figures, the large wooden crucifix was a German innovation at the very start of the period, as were free-standing statues of the enthroned Madonna, but the high relief was above all the sculptural mode of the period.

Colours tended to be very striking, and mostly primary. Stained glass became widely used, although survivals are sadly few. Compositions usually had little depth, and needed to be flexible to be squeezed into the shapes of historiated initials, column capitals, and church tympanums; the tension between a tightly enclosing frame, from which the composition sometimes escapes, is a recurrent theme in Romanesque art. Figures often varied in size in relation to their importance, and landscape backgrounds, if attempted at all, were closer to abstract decorations than realism. Portraiture hardly existed.

Mary Magdalen and angels, late 14th century (?), from Toruń Cathedral, Poland. An example of International Gothic art.

Gothic art developed in Northern France out of Romanesque art in the 12th century AD, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, and much of Southern and Central Europe, never quite effacing more classical styles in Italy. In the late 14th century, the sophisticated court style of International Gothic developed, which continued to evolve until the late 15th century. In many areas, especially Germany, Late Gothic art continued well into the 16th century, before being subsumed into Renaissance art. Primary media in the Gothic period included sculpturepanel paintingstained glassfresco and illuminated manuscripts. The easily recognizable shifts in architecture from Romanesque to Gothic, and Gothic to Renaissance styles, are typically used to define the periods in art in all media, although in many ways figurative art developed at a different pace.

The earliest Gothic art was monumental sculpture, on the walls of Cathedrals and abbeys. Christian art was often typological in nature (see Medieval allegory), showing the stories of the New Testament and the Old Testament side by side. Saints' lives were often depicted. Images of the Virgin Mary changed from the Byzantine iconic form to a more human and affectionate mother, cuddling her infant, swaying from her hip, and showing the refined manners of a well-born aristocratic courtly lady.

Secular art came into its own during this period with the rise of cities, foundation of universities, increase in trade, the establishment of a money-based economy and the creation of a bourgeois class who could afford to patronize the arts and commission works resulting in a proliferation of paintings and illuminated manuscripts. Increased literacy and a growing body of secular vernacular literature encouraged the representation of secular themes in art. With the growth of cities, trade guilds were formed and artists were often required to be members of a painters' guild—as a result, because of better record keeping, more artists are known to us by name in this period than any previous; some artists were even so bold as to sign their names.

Renaissance Art[edit]

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, c. 1485. Now in the Uffizi GalleryFlorence. An example of Renaissance art.

Renaissance art emerged as a distinct style in Italy in about 1400, in parallel with developments which occurred in philosophyliteraturemusicand science. It took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity, but transformed that tradition by absorbing recent developments in the art of Northern Europe and by applying contemporary scientific knowledge. Renaissance artists painted a wide variety of themes. Religious altarpiecesfresco cycles, and small works for private devotion were very popular. For inspiration, painters in both Italy and northern Europe frequently turned to Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (1260), a highly influential source book for the lives of saints that had already had a strong influence on Medieval artists. The rebirth of classical antiquity and Renaissance humanism also resulted in many Mythological and history paintingsOvidian stories, for example, were very popular. Decorative ornament, often used in painted architectural elements, was especially influenced by classical Roman motifs.

Techniques characteristic of Renaissance art include the use of proportion and linear perspective; foreshortening, to create an illusion of depth; sfumato, a technique of softening of sharp outlines by subtle blending of tones to give the illusion of depth or three-dimensionality; and chiaroscuro, the effect of using a strong contrast between light and dark to give the illusion of depth or three-dimensionality.

Madonna with the Long Neck,  Parmigianino, c.1535-40. Now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. An example of Mannerism.

Mannerism, Baroque and Rococo[edit]

Renaissance Classicism spawned two different movements—Mannerism and the Baroque. Mannerism, a reaction against the idealist perfection of Classicism, employed distortion of light and spatial frameworks in order to emphasize the emotional content of a painting and the emotions of the painter. Northern Mannerism took longer to develop, and was largely a movement of the last half of the 16th century. Where High Renaissance art emphasizes proportion, balance, and ideal beauty, Mannerism exaggerates such qualities, often resulting in compositions that are asymmetrical or unnaturally elegant. The style is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities. It favors compositional tension and instability rather than the balance and clarity of earlier Renaissance painting.

In contrast, Baroque art took the representationalism of the Renaissance to new heights, emphasizing detail, movement, lighting, and drama in their search for beauty. Perhaps the best known Baroque painters are CaravaggioRembrandtPeter Paul Rubens, and Diego Velázquez. Baroque art is often seen as part of the Counter-Reformation—the artistic element of the revival of spiritual life in the Roman Catholic Church. Religious and political themes are widely explored within the Baroque artistic context, and both paintings and sculptures are characterised by a strong element of drama, emotion and theatricality. Baroque art was particularly ornate and elaborate in nature, often using rich, warm colours with dark undertones. Baroque art can be seen as a more elaborate and dramatic re-adaptation of late Renaissance art.  Dutch Golden Age painting is a distinct subset of Baroque, leading to the development of secular genres such as still lifegenre paintings of everyday scenes, and landscape painting.

By the 18th century, Baroque art was falling out of fashion as many deemed it too melodramatic and also gloomy, and it developed into the Rococo, which emerged in France. Rococo art was even more elaborate than the Baroque, but it was less serious and more playful. The artistic movement no longer placed an emphasis on politics and religion, focusing instead on lighter themes such as romance, celebration, and appreciation of nature. Furthermore, it sought inspiration from the artistic forms and ornamentation of Far Eastern Asia, resulting in the rise in favour of porcelain figurines and chinoiserie in general. Rococo soon fell out of favor, being seen by many as a gaudy and superficial movement emphasizing aesthetics over meaning. Neoclassicism in many ways developed as a counter movement of the Rococo, the impetus being a sense of disgust directed towards the latter's florid qualities.

Oath of the Horatii, Jaques-Louis David, 1784. Now in the Louvre, Paris. An example of Neoclassicism.

Neoclassical, Romanticism, and Realism[edit]

Neoclassicism began in the 18th century as counter movement opposing the Rococo. It desired for a return to the simplicity, order and 'purism' of classical antiquity, especially ancient Greece and Rome. Neoclassicism was the artistic component of the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. Neoclassicism had become widespread in Europe throughout the 18th century, especially in the United Kingdom, which saw great works of Neoclassical architecture spring up during this period. In many ways, Neoclassicism can be seen as a political movement as well as an artistic and cultural one. Neoclassical art places an emphasis on order, symmetry and classical simplicity; common themes in Neoclassical art include courage and war, as were commonly explored in ancient Greek and Roman art. IngresCanova, and Jacques-Louis David are among the best-known neoclassicists.

Just as Mannerism rejected Classicism, Romanticism rejected the aesthetic of the Neoclassicists, specifically the highly objective and ordered nature of Neoclassicism, and opted for a more individual and emotional approach to the arts. Emphasis was placed on nature, especially when aiming to portray the power and beauty of the natural world, and emotions. Romantic art often used colours in order to express feelings and emotion. Similarly to Neoclassicism, Romantic art took much of its inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman art and mythology, yet, unlike Neoclassical, this inspiration was primarily used as a way to create symbolism and imagery. Romantic art also takes much of its aesthetic qualities from medievalism and Gothicism, as well as mythology and folklore. Among the greatest Romantic artists were Eugène DelacroixFrancisco GoyaJ.M.W. TurnerJohn ConstableCaspar David FriedrichThomas Cole, and William Blake.

The Fighting Temeraire, J.M.W. Turner, 1839, now in the National Gallery, London. A Romantic painting.

In response to these changes caused by Industrialisation, the movement of Realism emerged. Realism sought to accurately portray the conditions and hardships of the poor in the hopes of changing society; in contrast with Romanticism, which was essentially optimistic about mankind, Realism offered a stark vision of poverty and despair. Similarly, while Romanticism glorified nature, Realism portrayed life in the depths of an urban wasteland. Like Romanticism, Realism was a literary as well as an artistic movement. Other contemporary movements were more Historicist in nature, such as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who attempted to return art to its state of "purity" prior to Raphael, and the Arts and Crafts Movement, which reacted against the impersonality of mass-produced goods and advocated a return to medieval craftsmanship.

Modern Art[edit]

Music[edit]

Richard Strauss, von Weber, Offenbach, Stockhausen, Mendelssohn (Germany), Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, (Russia), Schubert, Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Strauss (Austria), Berlioz, Machaut, Pérotin, Couperin, Lully, Rameau, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Debussy, Ravel (France), Palestrina, Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Donizetti, Cavalli, Paganini, Bellini, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini (Italy), Tomás Luis de Victoria, Falla, Granados, Albéniz, Rodrigo (Spain), Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, Martinů (Czech Republic), Dufay, des Prez, Lassus (Belgium), Sweelinck, Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, Willem Pijper, Louis Andriessen, Tristan Keuris (the Netherlands), Grieg (Norway), Liszt, Bartók (Hungary), Purcell, Elgar, Britten, Holst (UK), Nielsen (Denmark), Sibelius (Finland), Chopin, Penderecki (Poland), George Enescu, Sergiu Celibidache (Romania). Luciano Pavarotti was a contemporary popular opera singer. Orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra are considered to be amongst the finest ensembles in the world. The Salzburg Festival, the Bayreuth Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms are major European classical music festivals, and International Chopin Piano Competition is the world's oldest monographic music competition.

  • Folk music: Europe has a wide and diverse range of indigenous music, sharing common features in rural, travelling or maritime communities. Folk music is embedded in an unwritten, aural tradition, but was increasingly transcribed from the nineteenth century onwards. Many classical composers used folk melodies, and folk has influenced some popular music in Europe. See the list of European folk musics.
The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of music.[10][11][12]

Architecture[edit]

Ancient Classical Architecture[edit]

  • Ancient Roman architecture adopted the external language of classical Greek architecture for the purposes of the ancient Romans, but differed from Greek buildings, becoming a new architectural style. The two styles are often considered one body of classical architecture. Roman architecture flourished in the Roman Republic and even more so under the Empire, when the great majority of surviving buildings were constructed. It used new materials, particularly concrete, and newer technologies such as the arch and the dome to make buildings that were typically strong and well-engineered. Large numbers remain in some form across the empire, sometimes complete and still in use.

Medieval Architecture[edit]

  • The Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral, built in the English Gothic style.
    Romanesque architecture combines features of ancient Roman and Byzantine buildings and other local traditions. It is known by its massive quality, thick walls, round arches, sturdy pillarsgroin vaults, large towers and decorative arcading. Each building has clearly defined forms, frequently of very regular, symmetrical plan; the overall appearance is one of simplicity when compared with the Gothic buildings that were to follow. The style can be identified right across Europe, despite regional characteristics and different materials, and is most frequently seen in churches.

Renaissance and Neoclassical Architecture[edit]

Santa Maria Novella, Florence, an example of Renaissance architecture.
A villa with a superimposed portico, from Book IV of Palladio's I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura, in an English translation published in London, 1736.
  • Renaissance architecture began in the early 14th and lasted until the early 17th century. It demonstrates a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman architectural thought and material culture, particularly the symmetryproportiongeometry and the regularity of parts of ancient buildings. Developed first in Florence, with Filippo Brunelleschi as one of its innovators, the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities. The style was carried to France, Germany, England, Russia and other parts of Europe at different dates and with varying degrees of impact
  • Palladian Architecture was derived from and inspired by the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). Palladio's work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. From the 17th century Palladio's interpretation of this classical architecture was adapted as the style known as Palladianism, it continued to develop until the end of the 18th century, and continued to be popular in Europe throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, where it was frequently employed in the design of public and municipal buildings.

19th Century Architecture[edit]

The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, an example of Gothic revival architecture.
  • Revivalism was a hallmark of nineteenth-century European architecture. Revivals of the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles all took place, alongside revivals of the Classical styles. Regional styles, such as English Tudor were also revived, as well as non-European styles, such as Chinese (Chinoiserie) and Egyptian, these revivals often used elements of the original style in a freer way than original examples, sometimes borrowing from multiple styles at once. At Alnwick Castle, for example, Gothic revival elements were added to the exterior of the original medieval castle, while the interiors were designed in a Renaissance style.
  • Art Nouveau architecture was a reaction against the eclectic styles which dominated European architecture in the second half of the 19th century. It was expressed through decoration, the buildings were covered with ornament in curving forms, based on flowers, plants or animals: butterflies, peacocks, swans, irises, cyclamens, orchids and water lilies. Façades were asymmetrical, and often decorated with polychrome ceramic tiles, the decoration usually suggested movement; there was no distinction between the structure and the ornament.

20th Century and Modern Architecture[edit]

  • Centennial Hall, in Wrocław, Poland, is an example of Expressionist architecture.
    Art Deco architecture began in Paris in 1903-4. Early buildings had clean lines, rectangular forms, and no decoration on the facades; they marked a clean break with the art nouveau style. After the First World War, art deco buildings of steel and reinforced concrete began to appear in large cities across Europe and the United States. Buildings became more decorated, and interiors were extremely colorful and dynamic, combining sculpture, murals, and ornate geometric design in marble, glass, ceramics and stainless steel. 
  • Modernist architecture is a term applied to a group of styles of architecture which emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II. It was based upon new technologies of construction, particularly the use of glasssteeland reinforced concrete; and upon a rejection of the traditional neoclassical architecture and Beaux-Arts styles that were popular in the 19th century. Modernist architecture continued to be the dominant architectural style for institutional and corporate buildings into 1980s, when it was challenged by postmodernism.
  • Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany, a Postmodern building.
    Expressionist architecture is a form of modern architecture that began during the first decades of the 20th century, in parallel with the expressionist visual and performing arts that especially developed and dominated in Germany. In the 1950s, a second movement of expressionist architecture developed, initiated by the Ronchamp Chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut (1950–1955) by Le Corbusier. The style was individualistic, but tendencies include Distortion of form for an emotional effect, efforts at achieving the new, original, and visionary, and a conception of architecture as a work of art.
  • Postmodern architecture emerged in the 1960s as a reaction against the austerity, formality, and lack of variety of modern architecture, particularly in the international style advocated by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Embraced in the USA first, it spread to Europe. In contrast to Modernist buildings, Postmodern buildings have curved forms, decorative elements, asymmetry, bright colors, and features often borrowed from earlier periods. Colors and textures unrelated to the structure of function of the building. While rejecting the "puritanism" of modernism, it called for a return to ornament, and an accumulation of citations and collages borrowed from past styles, it borrowed freely from classical architecture, rococoneoclassical architecture, the Viennese secession, the British arts and crafts movement, the German Jugendstil.
  • Deconstructivist architecture is a movement of postmodern architecture which appeared in the 1980s, which gives the impression of the fragmentation of the constructed building. It is characterized by an absence of harmony, continuity, or symmetry.  Its name comes from the idea of "Deconstruction", a form of semiotic analysis developed by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Besides fragmentation, Deconstructivism often manipulates the structure's surface skin and creates by non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture. The finished visual appearance is characterized by unpredictability and controlled chaos.

Literature[edit]

Europe has produced some of the most prominent or popular fiction and nonfiction writers of all time :

Film[edit]

Antoine Lumière realized, on 28 December 1895, the first projection, with the Cinematograph, in Paris.[14] In 1897, Georges Méliès established the first cinema studio on a rooftop property in Montreuil, near Paris, some notable European film movements include German Expressionism, Italian neorealism, French New Wave, Polish Film School, New German Cinema, Portuguese Cinema Novo, Czechoslovak New Wave, Dogme 95, New French Extremity, and Romanian New Wave.

The cinema of Europe has its own awards, the European Film Awards. Main festivals : Cannes Film Festival (France), Berlin International Film Festival (Germany). The Venice Film Festival (Italy) or Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia, is the oldest film festival in the world. Philippe Binant realized, on 2 February 2000, the first digital cinema projection in Europe.[16]

Science[edit]

  • CERN (/ˈsɜːrn/; French: [sɛʀn]) : The European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the birthplace of the World Wide Web and home of the world's largest machine : the Large Hadron Collider. It is the world's largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border, established in 1954; in November 2010, the collisions obtained were able to generate the highest temperatures and densities ever produced in an experiment, creating a "mini-Big Bang" a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.[17]
  • ESA : The European Space Agency's space flight program includes human spaceflight,[18] mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observations, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana and designing launch vehicles. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle, on 12 November 2014, ESA's Philae probe achieved the first-ever soft landing on a comet.

Europe has produced some of the most influential scientists and inventors in history.

Philosophy[edit]

European philosophy is a predominant strand of philosophy globally, and is central to philosophical enquiry in America and most other parts of the world which have fallen under its influence.

The Greek schools of philosophy in antiquity provide the basis of philosophical discourse that extends to today. Christian thought had a huge influence on many fields of European philosophy (as European philosophy has been on Christian thought too), sometimes as a reaction. Many political ideologies were theorised in Europe such as capitalism, communism, fascism, socialism or anarchism.

Perhaps one of the most important single philosophical periods since the classical era were the Renaissance, the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment. There are many disputes as to its value and even its timescale. What is indisputable is that the tenets of reason and rational discourse owe much to René Descartes, John Locke and others working at the time.

Other important European philosophical strands include: Analytic philosophy, Anarchism, Christian Democracy, Communism, Conservatism, Constructionism, Deconstructionism, Empiricism, Epicureanism, Existentialism, Fascism, Humanism, Idealism, Internationalism, Liberalism, Logical positivism, Marxism, Materialism, Monarchism, Nationalism, Perspectivism, Platonism, Positivism, Postmodernism, Protestantism, Rationalism, Relativism, Republicanism, Romanticism, Scepticism, Scholasticism, Social Democracy, Socialism, Stoicism, Structuralism, Thomism, Utilitarianism, Spenglerism.

Religion[edit]

Europe religion map en.png
Dominant religions in Europe;

     Catholic Christianity      Protestant Christianity      Orthodox Christianity      Sunni Islam      Tibetan Buddhism

Indo-European religions were: Celtic polytheism, Germanic paganism, Ancient Greek religion, Etruscan religion, and Slavic mythology.

The Eurobarometer Poll 2005[19] found that, on average, 52% of the citizens of EU member states state that they "believe in God", 27% believe there is some sort of spirit or life force while 18% do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force. 3% declined to answer. According to new polls about Religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union accounting 72% of EU citizens.[20] Non believer/Agnostic account 16%,[20] Atheist account's 7%,[20] and Muslim 2%.[20]

Christianity has been the dominant religion shaping European culture for at least the last 1700 years.[21][22][23][24][25] Modern philosophical thought has very much been influenced by Christian philosophers such as St Thomas Aquinas and Erasmus. And throughout most of its history, Europe has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture,[26] The Christian culture was the predominant force in western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science.[27][28] The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom" many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.[29]

The most popular religions of Europe are the following (by dominant religion):

There are significant Catholic minorities in the Netherlands,[45] southern Germany,[46] Switzerland, the Czech Republic,[47] western and central Belarus, western Ukraine,[48] Hungarian-speaking Romania, Albania, parts of Russia, the Latgale region of Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, England (UK), Scotland (UK),[49] and Wales (UK),[50] and indeed small minorities in most of the other European countries.

Popular culture[edit]

Cuisine[edit]

The cuisines of European countries are diverse by themselves, although there are common characteristics that distinguishes European cooking from cuisines of Asian countries and others. Compared with traditional cooking of Asian countries, for example, meat is more prominent and substantial in serving-size. Steak in particular is a common dish across Europe. Similarly to some Asian cuisines[which?], European cuisines also put substantial emphasis on sauces as condiments, seasonings, or accompaniments (in part due to the difficulty of seasonings penetrating the often larger pieces of meat used in European cooking). Many dairy products are utilized in the cooking process, except in nouvelle cuisine. Wheat-flour bread has long been the most common sources of starch in this cuisine, along with pasta, dumplings and pastries, although the potato has become a major starch plant in the diet of Europeans and their diaspora since the European colonization of the Americas.

Clothing[edit]

The earliest definite examples of needles originate from the Solutrean culture, which existed in France and Spain from 19,000 BC to 15,000 BC, the earliest dyed flax fibers have been found in a cave the Republic of Georgia and date back to 36,000 BP. See Clothing in ancient Rome, 1100–1200 in fashion, 1200–1300 in fashion, 1300–1400 in fashion, 1400–1500 in fashion, 1500–1550 in fashion, 1550–1600 in fashion, 1600–1650 in fashion, 1650–1700 in fashion, Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.

Video games[edit]

Some of the most popular games of all time come from Europe: Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider, The Witcher, Cossacks: European Wars, Colin McRae: Dirt, Far Cry 3, Asphalt, The Settlers, The Patrician, Need For Speed, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Brain Challenge, Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Watch Dogs, Batman: Arkham City, Banjo-Kazooie, LittleBigPlanet, Block Breaker Deluxe, Crysis, Tetris, Assassin's Creed, Europa Universalis, Kinect Sports, Hysteria Project and The Getaway (video game series).

Sport[edit]

UEFA Champions League football match

Europe's influence on sport is enormous. European sports include:

In addition, Europe has numerous national or regional sports which do not command a large international following outside of emigrant groups, these include:

Some sport competitions feature a European team gathering athletes from different European countries, these teams use the European flag as an emblem. The most famous of these competitions is the Ryder Cup in golf, some sporting organisations hold European Championships like European Cricket Council, the European Games, the European Rugby Cup (Club/Regional competition), the European SC Championships, the FIRA - Association of European Rugby, the IIHF, the Mitropa Cup, the Rugby League European Federation - European Nations Cup, the Sport in the European Union and the UEFA.

Capitals of Culture[edit]

Each year since 1985 one or more cities across Europe are chosen as European Capital of Culture. Here are the past and future capitals:

  • 1985: Athens
  • 1986: Florence
  • 1987: Amsterdam
  • 1988: Berlin
  • 1989: Paris
  • 1990: Glasgow
  • 1991: Dublin
  • 1992: Madrid
  • 1993: Antwerp
  • 1994: Lisbon
  • 1995: Luxembourg
  • 1996: Copenhagen
  • 1997: Thessaloniki
  • 1998: Stockholm
  • 1999: Weimar
  • 2000: Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Helsinki, Kraków, Prague, Reykjavík, Santiago de Compostela
  • 2001: Rotterdam, Porto
  • 2002: Bruges, Salamanca
  • 2003: Graz
  • 2004: Genoa, Lille
  • 2005: Cork
  • 2006: Patras
  • 2007: Sibiu, Luxembourg, Greater Region
  • 2008: Liverpool, Stavanger
  • 2009: Vilnius Linz
  • 2010: Essen (representing the Ruhr), Istanbul, Pécs
  • 2011: Turku, Tallinn
  • 2012: Guimarães, Maribor
  • 2013: Marseille, Košice
  • 2014: Umeå, Riga [4]
  • 2015: Mons, Plzeň
  • 2016: San Sebastián, Wrocław[5]
  • 2017: Aarhus,[6] Paphos
  • 2018: Malta, Netherlands
  • 2019: Matera, Italy
  • 2020: Galway, Ireland and Rijeka, Croatia

Symbols[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mason, D. (2015). A Concise History of Modern Europe: Liberty, Equality, Solidarity. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 2. 
  2. ^ Cf. Berting (2006:51).
  3. ^ Cederman (2001:2) remarks: "Given the absence of an explicit legal definition and the plethora of competing identities, it is indeed hard to avoid the conclusion that Europe is an essentially contested concept." Cf. also Davies (1996:15); Berting (2006:51).
  4. ^ Cf. Jordan-Bychkov (2008:13), Davies (1996:15), Berting (2006:51-56).
  5. ^ K. Bochmann (1990) L'idée d'Europe jusqu'au XXè siècle, quoted in Berting (2006:52). Cf. Davies (1996:15): "No two lists of the main constituents of European civilization would ever coincide, but many items have always featured prominently: from the roots of the Christian world in Greece, Rome and Judaism to modern phenomena such as the Enlightenment, modernization, romanticism, nationalism, liberalism, imperialism, totalitarianism."
  6. ^ a b c d e Berting 2006, p. 52
  7. ^ Berting 2006, p. 51
  8. ^ Duran (1995:81)
  9. ^ Selected T.S. Eliot on Tradition, Poetry, Faith, and Culture
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  16. ^ Cahiers du cinéma, n°hors-série, Paris, April 2000, p. 32 (cf. also Histoire des communications, 2011, p. 10.).
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External links[edit]